One of the most important application fields of augmented reality is for sure education: as we saw in some previous articles, often this new technology can help the students of any age improve their learning experiences. Today we talk about the project “Augmented Reality Sandbox“, that the University of California developed with the big firm, well-known for its specialization in graphic cards, Nvidia, to help students studying topography.

Once more, the wonders of augmented reality are clear: in fact, while we could think about some sci-fi device to make this project work, the base of it all is simply some playing sand in a box; with the help of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card, an Xbox Kinect sensor and a projector you will be able to create and model beautiful lands. As you can see in the video below, you can put your hands in the sandbox and change the disposition of the lands with a simple touch, modeling mountains and hills and digging lakes and rivers; as the sand moves, the augmented landscape projected on the surface changes live. It is also possible, simply with the shade of the hands, to simulate rain, adding the water needed to fill the land.

This project was displayed for the first time at the Alaska Conference on Surveying and Mapping and then arrived also to the University of Wyoming Geological Museum, where it was tested for children topography learning purpose; useless to say that it was a big success, since the “Augmented Reality Sandbox” joins learning with playing: the children have fun and they can’t even realize that in the while they are actually studying.