Faculty and Staff Collaborate to Build 3D Terrain "Sandbox"

Augmented Reality Sandbox
The ARS projects real-time topographic contour lines and color-coded elevation data onto sand "terrain." video still / provided
Augmented Reality Sandbox
The ARS is a powerful teaching tool for CRP and architecture students. photo / provided
Augmented Reality Sandbox
Built on a wheeled cart platform, the ARS can be moved about the college to classrooms and studios. photo / provided
The ARS projects real-time topographic contour lines and color-coded elevation data onto sand "terrain." video still / provided The ARS is a powerful teaching tool for CRP and architecture students. photo / provided Built on a wheeled cart platform, the ARS can be moved about the college to classrooms and studios. photo / provided
News
July 21, 2016

AAP staff and faculty have worked together to build a powerful teaching tool for CRP and architecture students.

Thomas J. Campanella, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in CRP, collaborated with Frank Parish, director of AAP facilities and formerly digital fabrication technician for AAP, and Andre Hafner, director of AAP IT Solutions, to build an Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS).

The ARS projects real-time topographic contour lines and color-coded elevation data onto sand "terrain" using a short-throw LCD projector and a Microsoft Kinect 3D scanner that is driven by open-source simulation software developed at the University of California‒Davis. As the sand in the box is shifted about, the contour lines regroup and adjust to the new sand form.

"Understanding contour lines and how they represent the third dimension of topographic elevation has always been a teaching challenge, certainly in my site planning course but also in architecture and landscape studios," says Campanella. "This is by far the most effective tool for visualizing in real time how we represent terrain with contour lines, and how we manipulate those lines to convey design intent for a site or landscape."

Built on a wheeled cart platform, the ARS can be moved about the college as needed in classrooms and studios.