Augmented Reality Sandbox

Nick Amano constructs interactive topography and watershed model.
During the spring term, Nick Amano 18 was granted an independent project—a self-directed endeavor that he pursued during the afternoons in place of a school-organized sport or afternoon activity—to construct his own Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox.

The result? A system (which was originally developed at University of California, Davis) that combines 3D visualization applications with a hands-on sandbox exhibit to teach earth science concepts. Users can mold and shape the sand by hand to create a topography model that is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The AR Sandbox system can be used to teach and demonstrate geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as how to read a topographic map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, and others—all in a visual, dynamic, hands-on way.

During the project, Nick identified and procured the needed hardware (computer, projector, sandbox materials), built and set up the hardware in a usable configuration, installed and learned about the AR Sandbox software, and calibrated the whole system for best results. Kurt Meyer (chair of the math department) and Ryan Meyer CdeP 1998 (visiting Anacapa Scholar) acted as mentors and advisors on the project.
    • Augmented Reality Sandbox

      An Interview with Nick Amano

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