Creating Goal Oriented ARS using Water Sim

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    Phillip Curtiss


    I am part of the Science Mine here in Montana – which is a hands-on science discovery and learning center. We have constructed an AR Sandbox (ARS) and it is, without a doubt, one of the most popular exhibits in our place for kids young and old alike. Whereas there is much interaction with the SAR, and this is leading to discovery of all kinds of principles related to the association color and elevation, etc., other notions, related to topography, for example, are more difficult to explore and discover through the existing interactions available.

    We were thinking about embarking on adding to the code (fork off a version) that would allow goal-oriented interactions. Where, for example, a virtual marble could be placed at the highest peak of the sand surface, and a virtual target (where you have to direct the marble) could be placed at the lowest elevation of the sand surface (that isn’t water). Then the goal would be to shape the sand so that the virtual marble “flowed” to the virtual target.

    In this way, people interacting with the exhibit will have a goal-oriented challenge that forces them to think about the topography of the sand, and even use the contour lines etc, to help them shape the sand to achieve the goal.

    There could also be different levels of play that are selected via hand gestures through the Kinect. Do the different in elevation, and the longitudinal distance between the marble and the target would be attributes that could mediate the challenge of the play.

    Interested to know what folks think about this idea? If they would find it valuable in their installations? If they would use it? If there are any modifications like this that presently exist? Etc?

    I am a professor of computer science at the local University, and if the idea has merit and would be useful, could make (part of) this a project in a couple of classes and post those projects for others to exploit ;-).

    Thanks so much for the feedback.



    Goal oriented is a great idea, and some folks have don similar thinking, including Oliver’s tool of sculpting to match an existing DEM of a location using red and blue for too much or too little sand, the skinning the aerial photo of the location when done.

    See slide 3 in the gallery below

    A magic sandbox I made for my 3 y.o. son’s birthday. Detailed BOM and source code included.

    This company has a few ideas to check out in their features

    Finally Julian Löhr (aka Loehr) has created a shark population interactive.
    I’ve never seen it in action or know if it is compatible with the new version.
    I’ve been intrigued with showing salmon working upstream from a low ocean to a high lake (since Adobe Atmosphere) using little model fish.

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