Augmented Reality Sandbox | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Augmented Reality Sandbox

The Augmented Reality Sandbox is an educational tool that visualises seabottom topography and related processes in an interactive and attractive way.

How does the Augmented Reality Sandbox work?

This technological ingenuity combines 3D visualisation software with a physical sandbox. The sandbox has a Kinect camera attached to it which registers movement: hand gestures induce a visualisation of water flow, and sand elevation causes topographical changes. This information is passed on to a computer, which then generates an updated topographical chart. Finally, a digital video projector projects the chart onto the sandbox. In combination with the 3D visualisation software, physical interaction with the sand will cause a realistic and colourful visualisation of topographical processes.

What is the Augmented Reality Sandbox used for?

The Augmented Reality Sandbox can be used to educate, amongst others, students on the various processes related to oceans and coasts in an entertaining and interactive manner. Some examples of processes that can be simulated:

  • Removing a certain amount of sand can cause a projection of water flow, useful to illustrate e.g. estuary formation or coastal erosion
  • By piling up sand one can simulate land elevation, facilitating the representation of e.g. island formation or even continental drift

Technical details

  • Dell Precision (Ubuntu OS) + AR Sandbox software
  • Microsoft X-box Kinect 3D-camera
  • BenQ Native XGA (1024x768) projector
  • Sandbox with white sand

How to make use of the Augmented Reality Sandbox?

For more information about our rental service please contact VLIZ.

Use and conditions

Note: if you use the Augmented Reality Sandbox of VLIZ as a scientist, please refer to it in your publications as: "This work was supported by data & infrastructure provided by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) as part of the Flemish contribution to LifeWatch.