Kids are so lucky in this day and age! Researchers at UC Davis have created this awesome virtual reality sandbox that fuses the physical and digital worlds in an awesome way. At first glance, it appears to be just a normal sandbox until one starts playing around with it and all these cool things begin happening.
A Microsoft Kinect camera mounted above tracks the movements of the player while a projector displays topographic lines that interact in real time to the players physical alterations of the sandbox. It’s even possible to make it rain (not like this though). With the projector creating a rainstorm in which the virtual water behaves just fluidly as real water does. It feels holes, slides down terrain and shows how bodies of water interact.
The aim is to give as little instruction as possible and educate children through curiosity, collaboration and self-driven learning. The researches have kept the technology open source and it can be downloaded here. So far it has been fairly successful and has been exhibited in several educational institutions. Be sure to check out the video below and get ready to wish you were a kid all over again.