Real-time topographic maps made with Augmented Reality Sandbox

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Sandbox4-SmallRecently I came across one of the coolest applications of augmented reality ever. Couple of researchers from UC Davis Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences have developed a sandbox that acts as a real-time interactive, topographical map with contour lines and color shading. When ever you change the topography by moving the sand, the new isolines will be projected on the sand.

[iframe src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/j9JXtTj0mzE” width=”100%” height=”380″]

The project uses Microsoft Kinect camera coupled with topographic visualization software and a 3D data projector. The Kinect takes stereoscopic images of the topography of the sandbox and sends the data to a computer.  Researchers applied the Vrui VR development toolkit in conjunction with the Kinect 3D processing framework to compute the visualisation from a specific point of view of the data projector fixed above the sandbox.

[iframe src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ki8UXSJmrJE” width=”100%” height=”380″]

If you see one of those in a science museum somewhere in the world let us know!

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I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This is on exhibit at OMSI in Portland Oregon, September 4th, 2017 (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). And it is way cool. And this is a 50 something man.

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