Feature wish list

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    Hi Oliver,

    First off, three cheers for making the AR Sandbox tech so accessible. I made one for my office with very little difficulty thanks to your excellent software and instructions.

    I work with Resource Management Associates in Davis, CA, a small engineering firm specializing in numerical modeling for water resources. I would like to use the sandbox to illustrate and physically play around with concepts related to a wide range of water issues. As is, I have some fun illustrations of reservoir management. We do a lot of analysis for tidal marsh restoration and treated wastewater discharge. In support of those activities, I am interested in a range of new sandbox features.

    -Tides! Set one edge of the box to create a tidal boundary for the flow simulation, need to control amplitude and period.
    – Companion water quality transport simulation. Color the water by a water quality constituent. A conservative tracer is a fine start. Will need to set the concentration for boundary flows. At least one for tidal boundary (salt water) and one for rain (fresh water).
    – Point source and sink. It would be great to place a shape on the sand to create a point source or sink, like an arrow shape that creates a flow. Would need to control the flow rate and concentration for the point source. Right now I use a piece of Styrofoam on a stick to act as a rain cloud, but a shape on the sand surface would be better for a point source.

    And a few more lower priority ideas.
    – Monitoring station. Place a shape or some how identify a location in the sandbox that would then place a time series plot of water surface elevation or concentration on a separate monitor.
    – Companion Particle Tracking Model. Allow sources of particles that would move with flow (or roll downhill, or otherwise wander about).
    – Flow arrow or streak lines displayed on the flow animation.
    – Color water by velocity.

    I know these ideas are not easy to pull off. We have software developers in-house that may be able to help with a bit of direction.

    Again, thanks for all your work on the ARSandbox, everyone that has seen ours has really enjoyed it.

    John DeGeorge


    Another vote for exporting the model in a STL format or a point cloud file, so we can manage to open in a 3D editing program. When I describe the AR Sandbox to others, the first question asked is if we can export for editing/3d printing/etc.


    I’d also like the ability to use the set up to record data and, as others have requested, export as a point cloud for post processing.


    Hi Oliver,
    Thank you for developing and posting this amazing technology. It is incredible what technology is becoming accessible now at school level.

    We are currently building our box, but can already see some things we would love to be able to do.

    1) Wind and water current direction, so you can see the affect of changing wind direction on the direction and flow of water and waves.(yes this would also tie in with any erosion feature if you ever get that one going…that would be awesome!)
    2) The ability to change runoff rates for different surface types. For example to allocate an area on the box as ‘forest’, or grassland, or bare ground, or rock and be able to show the differences in water run-off or ‘soak-in’ rates for the different ground covers.
    3) Tides. For a coastal scenario. The ability to have a simulation of water level increase over time maybe as ‘simple’ as having a fluctuation altering the lower couple of colour graduations. Sorry I know nothing about programming unfortunately.
    Thanks very much. I hope the value of what you are doing here translates into more funding for your project.


    HI there…

    Just a disclaimer, I’m not a scientist or a researcher or anybody who would know anything about how this thing works… what I am is somebody who stumbled upon a video of this thing and immediately thought of a possible real-world application that could possibly justify more research funding…

    See, I work in the construction industry and am currently studying construction management in college, and as I am currently learning, both in school and at work, to use different measurement devices and techniques, the video I saw of this device was like a eureka moment. The job that my company is just finishing up is a parking lot grading job, where it has been my job to use a rotary laser level to assist an excavator operator in regrading the sub-base elevation in preparation for interlocking stone. Although it is true that laser levels are a relatively new development in measurement equipment and a huge improvement over pre-existing solutions, the whole process is still rather cumbersome, owing to the fact that the elevation of the detector on the staff must be constantly readjusted based on the information provided by the drawings, and it doesn’t take much to become overwhelmed.

    When I saw the video of your device, I immediately saw how incredibly useful this technology could be if it could be fashioned into a reliable, durable and easily set up system. Imagine a system that is a sort of combination between your device and a total station, which is a modern digital surveying device. Using GPS and other methods of determining position, elevation and angle, and perhaps a very bright projector or other method of relaying the necessary information, such a system could conceivably use information from a site drawing, which was likely created digitally in the first place, and display necessary changes in elevation RIGHT ON THE SOIL in real-time. Such a device would make the whole process of regrading very simple and intuitive, because it’s all visual rather than numerical, which would significantly reduce the amount of time required to complete the job, and trust me, anything that reduces the amount of time and work involved in completing a job in the construction industry is something that gets taken seriously and will find people willing to invest in.

    I’m certainly not in a position to persue the development of such a device, I only offer my perspective as a possible source of funding for additional research. I can’t imagine a better use for the technology that you’ve created.

    Thanks for reading and all the best.



    This is my first post on this forum.
    I have done my first prototype and now i build my a nice second sandbox.

    my wish is that i can split the system into a server/client system.
    A client which is connected to the kinect and the projector.
    A server with an powerful GPU to do the work.

    I have tried to forward the USB subsiystem via usbip to my server and rewind the display via vnc.
    forward the kinect didn’t work.
    display via vnc works well.

    The kinect sdk seems to have an network option.

    Oliver Kreylos

    The Kinect package has a client-server network protocol to stream 3D video data. SARndbox-2.3 does not have a client for network 3D cameras, but I just put it in for SARndbox-2.4.

    The procedure will be to run a KinectServer daemon on the computer with the Kinect attached, and connect to that daemon from the computer running the SARndbox application.


    that sounds perfect.
    I will test it with an rasPi and a big server with a good GPU 🙂


    hi,Oliver Kreylos
    can add the function of the 3D print.For example, export the terrain to a file which can import to blender or other open source 3D software.And also add the main and important function which is to open the funds interface we can support this project to go ahead.

    Thanks very much!


    Hi Oliver,
    Also my thanks for a wonderful model/system.

    I wonder if it would not be possible to make an entirely different projection showing the slopes/gradients of the map. For instance colored like the maps at ski resorts with blues and greens on the gentle slopes and red/black for the steepest.
    This way you could also discuss e.g. mountaineering / road planning / landscaping from the models.


    Hi Oliver:
    I have built the AR sandbox for high school instruction. I am also a geophysicist and would like to make a modification to your code to have the fluid flow uphill rather than downhill. What part of the code should I begin to review or can you suggest if it would be easy to enable this feature? The purpose would be to highlight less dense fluids moving upward for example in a basin undergoing petroleum generation and migration where fluids and gases migrate into shallower formations.
    Your thoughts are appreciated,
    Rob hull
    Dallas, Texas



    We are making a workshop about coastal defences using AR Sandbox.
    Is there a way to change the sea level without going to Boxlayout.txt, but changing it in AR Sandbox itself by pressing a button and without closing the application? This is in order to simulate the threat of sea level rise to coastal residences.

    Kind regards

    Nick and Reinout

    Jennifer Crawford

    I don’t know what you think about this kind of feature


    Hi Oliver,

    I have been using the sandbox to try and simulate urban flooding.

    My steps so far have been dampening the sand, and trying to replicate local geography. Then running the rain feature and seeing how accurate the simulation is. To then push this further I have then added in Lego blocks to simulate buildings etc. I idea being that I could potentially model, before and after flood prevention installations.



    1) Not sure if anyone has suggested snow say above the top 10 % of the box eg above a specific altitude (depending on scale I guess)
    Maybe melt to water over time? (maybe whilst you are not playing with it)

    2) I always liked the idea of being able to build known land forms say the Everest region.
    –> go to google earth in contour mode and run a difference between the measured sand box and desired contour shape then project a gradient to either add or subtract sand to different parts of the box. (Perhaps a little complex for a museum environment but ok for an older class room.)

    I look forward to seeing any of the many great new ideas suggested come to life.


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