Ithaca school robotics team builds augmented reality sandbox on UC Davis design

A high school robotics team in Ithaca, New York has built their own augmented reality sandbox, based on the model built by Oliver Kreylos and colleagues at UC Davis’s Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES). A video of the UC Davis sandbox went viral last year, attracting over one and half million views to date.

The sandbox uses a Kinect controller from a Microsoft Xbox game console and a digital projector to read contours on real sand and project images such as contours or flowing water onto the sand.

“The sandbox teaches geology and topography to younger children,” Ithaca High senior Mike Guo told the Ithaca Journal, “and older kids can appreciate and explore the technical side of the simulation.”

Local kids try out the sandbox built by Ithaca High School students based on a UC Davis design.

Local kids try out the sandbox built by Ithaca High School students based on a UC Davis design.

The Ithaca students plan to donate the sandbox to a local science education center.

KeckCAVES team members are thrilled others are using their design.

“This is a great example of how small scientific outreach projects here at Davis can have positive impacts on kids on the other side of the country,” said Magali Billen, a professor of geophysics at UC Davis and a member of the KeckCAVES team.

Professor Louise Kellogg noted that a high school in Perth, Australia has also built a sandbox. The UC Davis team plans to install sandboxes at three science centers nationwide: the ECHO Center at Lake Champlain, Vermont; the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley; and at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at Lake Tahoe.

More information about the UC Davis AR sandbox.

Want to build your own? How-to videos available here.

Here’s the original video of the UC Davis sandbox.


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