The University of California–Davis (UCD) Tahoe Science Center in Incline Village, Nev., has a new way of teaching visitors about hydrology without putting them to sleep. The Shaping Watersheds Interactive Sandbox is an augmented-reality exhibit that enables users to explore geological and hydrological concepts, such as topography and dam construction, that affect water management and stormwater runoff. Visitors can create virtual topography and rainstorms with their hands.
The exhibit, created by the UCD Tahoe Environmental Research Center and the UCD W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences, features real sand, a 3-D camera, and a digital projector. The project was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of its LakeViz3D project. In addition to the prototype, virtual sandboxes can also be found at the University of California–Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Vermont. Read more.