Augmented reality sandboxes are a both mesmerizing and a really innovative use of technology. They use a combination of a sensor array (usually a Kinect sensor) and a projector to add graphical topography to a sandbox. As sand is moved around, the color being projected onto the sand is adjusted based on its elevation, creating a fun interactive experience.
Liudr had already built a fairly standard AR sandbox, but wanted to expand its functionality—particularly the control of water levels. The usual ARsandbox simulation software does have water effects, but they’re based on simple elevation. If you want to add a lake, for example, you’d have to either dig down deep enough to reach the virtual water table, or alter the configuration of the simulation to bring that water table up.
Digging down that deep is time consuming, and limits the topographical possibilities of the simulation. And, editing a configuration file isn’t exactly fun or easy. To address that, Liudr used an Arduino and an Adafruit Feather 32u4 to build a control box that makes adjusting the water table elevation easy. The box has two large buttons: one blue and one yellow. When the blue button is pressed, the water level is increased, and it’s decreased with the yellow button. The same can be done with a control knob, which makes it ideal for children, and for placement in museums.