I was attending a military simulating and training conference as a teacher representative when I came across a man in the exhibit hall standing next to a large table filled with sand. But, as it turned out, the sand wasn't normal looking sand - what I saw in the sandbox completely blew my mind. He had a projector pointing down at the sand, an XBOX Kinect pointed at the sand and as I moved the white sand, the projection changed. This was my first experience with augmented reality and I decided I must build one for my school. This page shows the process and instructions of how I build the Augmented Reality Sandbox. If you are hoping to build one - don't wait, just do it! You, and everybody around you will be glad you did!
How to build an Augmented Reality Sandbox
I've included the plans for building the physical structure on the video above titled "How to Build an Augmented Reality Sandbox" because I had a tough time finding plans when I wanted to build one. The AR Sandbox method, concept and program were developed at the University of California - Davis; all of the technical information you need, including computer details, video card information, and downloadable programs are available on their website: https://arsandbox.ucdavis.edu/.
Supplies needed to build Augmented Reality Sandbox
All hardware is based off the suggestions posted on the AR Sandbox site from UC Davis
XBox Kinect 1414 (note: 2nd Generation Kinect will not work)
Kinect USB Adapter (Kinect will not plug directly into a computer - must have adapter)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (must have high quality video card for quick render and water simulator)
Computer with Core i5 or i7 with at least 3GHz (Computer must run Linux)
White Play Sand (150 lbs recommended)
(Optional) Kinetic Sand - Several people have recommended this instead of play sand. It is much more expensive but it holds its shape and makes better landforms - 12 boxes recommended
Fan (to keep dust out of the projector and to keep it cool)
1 - 4x8 foot sheet 3/4 inch plywood
2 - 4x4 inch; 8 foot long
25 - 3/8 inch nut
50 - 3/8 inch washer
4 - Casters
Xbox Kinect Mounting Bracket for Augmented Reality Sandbox
Several people have asked for the dimensions for the Xbox Kinect mount because I didn't include them in the video. I've included a picture with dimensions below:
Augmented Reality Sandbox in the Classroom:
I am a teacher and everything I build for BealsScience.com and the Beals Science YouTube page is for educational purposes. The AR Sandbox has huge implications in education, especially in the Earth Sciences, and as a tool to engage young learners. With this in mind, I built our Augmented Reality Sandbox to be portable and usable in any classroom in my hometown. I developed a comprehensive list of instructions for how to set up, tear down and operate the AR Sandbox. I've decided to include those instructions here so that anybody who is building one can use these instructions as a guide for how they too can help inspire young people at schools, youth groups, community science centers and clubs. Feel free to borrow and alter the instruction packet as you see fit.
Uses of an Augmented Reality Sandbox - Resources for teaching with the AR Sandbox
Developed by the developers of the AR Sandbox program at UC-Davis
Labs, activities and ideas for implementing the AR Sandbox into science instruction.
This document accompanies the AR Sandbox featured in the videos on this site as it travels to other schools so teachers can set it up and run it with ease. It is attached here as an example. Feel free to use it and/or alter it to best suit your needs.
Do you have resources you'd like to share? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org to add them to this list.
Beals Science Augmented Reality Sandbox in the news:
The Science Spot on Montana This Morning - CBS
The anchors of Montana This Morning stop by Craig Beals classroom to get a first look at the augmented reality sandbox.
Tech Insider - Business Insider
Business Insider contacted me asking to share the AR Sandbox video. Watch the video above.
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