Augmented Reality Sandbox Shows Landscape Change Effects

By on May 5, 2016

Researchers show off the augmented reality sandbox. (Credit: University of California, Davis)

Sometimes research can be a bit abstract and difficult to understand. But what if you could take a tough concept and present it to people just by using your hands?

Technology has made visualizations possible for some time, but now there’s a somewhat cooler option out there: the augmented reality sandbox. The innovative tool was recently presented at a conference by scientists at the University of California, Davis, who developed it with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The sandbox doesn’t contain any actual sand — it’s a screen. By incorporating 3-D visualizations, the researchers were able to make the sandbox display unique views of topography change that they hope encourage better stewardship of freshwater resources.

For example, those using the sandbox can create mountains and valleys, just by moving their hands around. Water shown will naturally try to find the lowest point, and shift accordingly to its surrounding landscape. Users can also hold their hands above the sandbox and fake rain will fall.

Top image: Researchers show off the augmented reality sandbox. (Credit: University of California, Davis)

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