ETS Project “AR-Sandbox”

  AR Sandbox Copyright: © CGRE

We obtained project funds in the competitive RWTH ETS funding scheme to extend our developments around the AR-Sandbox for teaching in geosciences (ETS Project 431).

First results were presented on the RWTH event "Lunch Lehre" on February 5, 2020 and on EIT Raw Materials Stakeholder Day (see also Videos below).

The project is implemented in the open-soure Python package "Open AR-Sandbox", available on our CGRE github page.

Project summary

The world around us is three-dimensional and yet, thinking and understanding in this spatial context is an aspect that does not come naturally to many people. We propose the development of concepts around a haptic interface to 3D content using a simple tool: a box of sand but one that is linked to computational content through a scanner as input and projector as output. This link augments the sandbox to a haptic interface, which enables completely new experiences with content in 3D. This concept has been used with great success in teaching geographical content and it is employed in schools and museums around the world. We intend here to open-up the existing applications to a far wider range of topics – including dedicated developments for education in applied geology, natural hazards, hydrogeology and geophysics. We build this project on previous work, in which we developed a running AR-Sandbox system (supported by an ERS Start-Up project, ExPARGEo). This system has been on display in outreach events (including RWTH "Nacht der Wissenschaft", "GeoTag") and conferences and raised great interest. Our development has also been implemented at another university (QUT, Australia) and is used successfully in teaching. With this proposal, we aim to elevate the potential use of this tool in education to a completely new level: we will extend both the software capabilities for an even more intuitive interaction and selflearning experience. In order to directly test and refine the developments, we will implement it in three lectures with different aims, to obtain feedback from future users. After project completion, we will have a full set of educational tools around the AR-Sandbox. We have access to all required tools and methods and are at the forefront of development with this system – an advantage that we here want to place to use for advanced education concepts.

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Presentation of the AR-Sandbox - START bei 3:03:49
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