Students in Industrial Technology Teacher Brad Gintert's class use authentic tasks to engage students in building a 3D topography sandbox. The sandbox display combines a real sandbox with virtual topography and water. It does so by using a closed loop of a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera, powerful simulation and visualization software, and a data projector.
The augmented reality (AR) sandbox allows users to create topography models by shaping real sandy, chichis then augmented unreal time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches geographic, geologic, and hydro-logic concepts such as how to read a topography map, the meaning of couture lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, and much more. This open-source software was designed by a team of scientists at the UC-Davis W.M. Keck Cener for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences.
Gintert and Seventh Grade Science Teacher Lana Williamson partnered on this project. Williamson was awarded a grant from The Grandview Heights Marble Cliff Education Foundation and acted as the client for Gintert's engineering class as they designed the sandbox using CAD software and built the sandbox to exceed client needs using the resources and equipment in the Industrial Technology Lab.
To read a related story in the Tri-Village Magazine, click here: https://www.cityscenecolumbus.com/communities/tri-village/grandview-heights-educators-introduce-a-virtual-reality-sand/