Augmented Reality Sandbox

A hands-on exhibit combining a real sandbox, and virtual topografhy and water.

As a part of a NSF-funded project on informal science education for freshwater lake and watershed science, the Augmented Reality Sandbox was developed as a hands-on exhibit combining a real sandbox, and virtual topography and water (Reed et al., 2014).

What sets this AR apart from most other is the setup of the system, which consists of a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera, a computer with simulation software, and a data projector. The setup is such that the Kinect 3D camera measures distance to the sand in the sandbox. The computer generates a topographic map based on information from Kinect 3D camera. The computer then shows the generated topographical map via the data projector on top of the sand, so that the topographical map is aligned with the topography of the sand. The image displayed on the sand is updated in real time, so when someone makes changes to the sand topography the overlaid image immediately is updated. 

The model also supports a water model. Users can interact with the AR sandbox by digging in the sand to change the topology, they can keep an open hand over sandbox then the software will perceive it as a rain cloud and create virtual rain from the hand. By using AR in this way, users can experience the relationship between the physical topography of the sand and the virtual topographic maps. 

Watch videos and read more about the AR Sandbox. 

The AR Sandbox is open source.

Samarbejdspartnere AR-SCI