Create an Augmented Reality Sandbox With Real-Time Topography
You may never have thought of sandboxing as a technology or learning tool, but with a little bit of work, it could be both. Developer Oliver Kreilos and a few others at UC Davis used Microsoft Kinect to turn the sandbox into an automatically updated topographic map. And you can build it too.
You can see the finished product in the video above. It’s incredibly intuitive. You simply create dimples and peaks from the sand, Kinect detects the depth you create and updates the projected image to accurately color-code topographic differences. Here’s what you need:
- Sandbox (of course with sand)
- Powerful enough computer
- Projector ( inexpensive pico projector will do)
- Microsoft Kinect (usually about 40% cheaper if you get a refurbished one )
While not the cheapest project, you probably already have most (if not all) of the tools you need. This may be due to my obsession with gadgets, but I actually have everything except the required amount of sand (because for some reason I have a jar of sand at home). If you have multiple items to pick up, check out the deals in the list of inexpensive options above.
You can find full instructions on Oliver’s website for how to hook up and calibrate the Kinect and projector for this kind of work. And with your best effort, you can create a great learning tool for your kids or just show it off to friends. Not all augmented reality projects end in nightmares , right?