AR Sandbox makes topographic maps fun and interactive while teaching earth sciences

January 14, 2019

The Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox allows students and the public to interact with a miniature landscape, sculpting mountains, valleys, rivers and even volcanoes, with off the shelf readily available parts.

Users can create topography 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 topo map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees and more. Topographic maps are crucial tools used by geologists, geographers, land and floodplain managers, planners and adventurous hikers.

The AR Sandbox prototype was developed at the Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Science (KeckCAVES) at the University of California (UC), Davis), and was initially launched in museum settings in 2012.

According to EOS.org, the AR Sandbox prototype became an interactive public exhibit for science education as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF)–funded project called LakeViz3D. This collaboration of scientists, science educators, evaluators, museum professionals, and media developers created 3-D visualizations to help improve public understanding and stewardship of freshwater ecosystems.

Also, land management and planning agencies can test environmental change scenarios in an AR Sandbox to inform decisions related to natural disaster planning. And it’s a cool, fun way to educate kids and the public about earth sciences as shown in below video…

The 3-D software used to create the AR Sandbox is open source and freely available online, together with the sandbox blueprints, a facilitator’s guide (support and ideas for teaching with the sandbox), and a public forum for help troubleshooting sandbox issues or to post questions and suggestions.

An AR Sandbox requires the following hardware components:

  • A computer with a high-end graphics card running Linux.
  • A Microsoft Kinect 3D camera.  
  • A digital video projector with a digital video interface, such as HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort.
  • A sandbox with a way to mount the Kinect camera and projector above sandbox.
  • Sand.

UC Davis provides detailed information, videos and forum support on what schools, organizations and others need to build your own AR Sandbox:

Currently there are over 150 exhibits around the world so use this interactive map to see if there is an AR Sandbox near you, and learn more at https://arsandbox.ucdavis.edu/.

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Making book text and ads interactive with Augmented Reality

June 20, 2018

We have been in the process of updating our customizable preparedness and first aid manual and plan to include Augmented Reality on some topics (e.g. CPR, Stop The Bleed, etc.) so readers can view videos and data about procedures using their smartphone or tablet.

And since our printer does AR, it would be a great complement to our custom book projects filled with ads that pay for books (and help fund our nation’s first responders.)

Augmented Reality can be used on print ads to increase engagement by…

  • Bringing a picture to life or adding video to the printed page;
  • Making content jump off the page with 3D objects and data;
  • Allowing people to interact directly with data, photos, games, shopping carts and websites;
  • Updating content, special promos, discounts and customer experiences without changing a printed trigger / ad.

Check out this short video demonstrating some AR ads:

We are exploring to determine if several topics in our book and ads would be best viewed using free apps such as Blippar, Layar, Zappar or others on smartphones or tablets … or maybe through a common AR viewer or platform that everyone could use with or without an app.

But our goal is to bridge the gap between traditional print and digital experiences to generate excitement and engagement between our readers, advertisers and whole communities.

We are soooo looking forward to stepping into tomorrow today so stay tuned and stay safe, j & B

p.s. Feel free to share your experiences with AR and printed matter below or by emailing us at info@fedhealth.net


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