What is MuVIT?
The Multi Vessel Interactive Trainer (MuVIT) was created out of a need to create a cost effective boating simulator which could be incorporated into boater education classes such as those offered by the United States Power Squadrons. Over time it continues to evolve, with cost effective add-ons, and customization capabilities of the training exercises.
How does it work?
MuVIT is a computer based simulator which uses COTS (commercial off the shelf) commodity hardware hardware and software to provide a realistic marine environment to allow for practicing boat handling in myriad simulated conditions.
The platform was designed to be simple and cost effective compared to other trainers which are available. The computer is often considered the most expensive component but the software has modest resource requirements. Our current system is an HP4540s which is a 10 year old laptop that easily runs the software. I would expect that any laptop or other PC made in the last 10 years would perform fine. All the peripherals (throttles, console, screen) connect through standard USB, HDMI/VGA connections so once configured it is plug and play.
Can I build one?
In short yes, the Bill of Materials and sources I have found are below.
The first thing you are going to need is a computer. We built the original MuVIT on an HP 4540S which has an i5 processor and 4GB of RAM. I have spoken with several squadrons who have built them on smaller machines. It is very likely that anything that was made in the last 10 years will work. The software is very undemanding of system resources. You can test your system by downloading a demo of the shipsim package, which is one of the simulators. f you have a question about what platform to use feel free to contact me.
The console is one of the critial components. It has built-in throttles which will support dual engines or most any throttle arrangement based on the software configuration. It also has a goodly number of buttons which can be used to enable/disable a large number of functions and options within the simulator. This does occasionally show up on Amazon but I’ve found the most reliable and quickest shipper with the best price is fspilotshop.
The Logitech Wingman wheel is what we have used for many of the simulators as the ships wheel. These can be sourced from Amazon or Ebay and likely many other places. The key point to remember is that you want a USB connector, not a joystick connector. Based on what weve tested, most any wheel should work, some need power, some don’t. The Wingman had the advantage of not requiring an external power source.