The Steuben County SWCD’s Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS) unit is available for use by Steuben County educators and organization leaders (4-H, FFA, home school groups) to use in their classrooms or for presentations to their groups. There are lesson plans for the ARS use as well to supplement classroom educational experiences.
What is an Augmented Reality Sandbox?
This tool combines 3D visualization applications with a hands-on sandbox exhibit to teach earth science concepts. The ARS sandbox allows users to create topographic models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as how to read a topographic map and the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, and more.
How does it work?
The ARS unit uses a computer projector and a motion-sensing input device (Xbox 360 Kinect camera), which are mounted above the sand. The camera is calibrated to detect the 3D landscape of the sand and the height of the “raincloud” to start the rain. Open source software that was developed by UC Davis in California instantly simulates and projects the topographic and hydrologic model as users create landscapes and move water in the hands-on sandbox.
For more information or to schedule a presentation with the ARS unit to your class or group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (260) 665-3211, ext. 3.
The Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District gives special thanks to the Steuben County Community Foundation and to the City of Angola/Trine University MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) for their financial support in the creation of this teaching tool. We would also like to thank Jordan Beehler for her technical assistance in getting the program running. Thank you also to Jenna Wait, Elkhart County SWCD, for her assistance with this page and with the Technical Instructions and Guide.
The Augmented Reality Sandbox was developed by the UC Davis W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES, http://www.keckcaves.org), supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1114663.