Digging into work experience at JCU
In just three days, work experience students from The Cathedral School built a sandpit - with an interactive twist. The team of four students from Year 11 built an Augmented Reality Sandbox, a live exhibit that combines 3D visualisation and a living landscape of sand.
The project, originally started by UC Davis, allows visitors to interact with their hands to models the terrain and rain water flow over the shape of the environment.
The AR Sandbox continuously scans the sand surface using a Microsoft Kinect, like what you'd find on an Xbox, and the attached computer processes the data. The result is a digital projector pointed at the sand displays an elevation map with different colours based upon height, contour lines and even simulated water.
The year 11 students began planning the project on the first morning and teamed up to create the fully working configuration within just 36 hours.
The team picked up skills ranging from DIY through to Linux configuration and topography, designing the layout of the sandpit and updating the software.
The potential applications of the Sandbox range from flood modelling, urban development, geography, archaeology, climate change and even IT games development.
The sandpit is currently in the Vislab, the eResearch Centre's space for 3D and augmented reality projects, and is seeking keen students and researchers with all ranges of skills (IT, engineering, modelling or more!) to build the next version.
For more information or an interactive demo, contact the eResearch Centre at https://eresearch.jcu.edu.au