By just molding the sand by hand, the landscape comes to life, with colored topographic contour lines showing elevation and simulated water
Researchers at the University of California â€“ Davis have developed a 3D interactive map that teaches earth science concepts, and at the same time seeks to raise public awareness regarding freshwater lake ecosystems and earth science processes. By just shaping real sand, users are allowed to physically create topography models which can then be scanned into a computer in real time in order to be further used as background for a variety of graphics effects and simulations. This real-time integrated augmented reality (AR) system actually creates an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water, which makes it ideal for teaching geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts (how to read a topography map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, etc) or a hands-on exhibit in science museums.
All you need in order to make your own is a computer with a high-end graphics card, a digital video projector, a Microsoft Kinect 3D Camera, a sandbox and of course sand. For more information, including computer details, video card information, and downloadable programs, you can visit the projectâ€™s website.