Update: sARndbox “In Plain English” video
WHAT IS IT?
HOW DOES IT WORK?
HOW IT’S MADE?
- A sandbox that is a 4:3 ratio (this is so it matches the ratio of the projector). It’s not a big deal if your box is bigger than the 4:3 ratio, just know that your projection won’t fill the entire box. You can either build your sandbox out of wood (what we did) or find something to use as a makeshift sandbox (think dresser drawer or a plastic storage bin).
- Ours was 32″ x 24″. In hindsight, I might have made it a little bigger but since we did a lot of transporting, I’m glad ours was smaller.
- If building your sandbox out of wood (as we did), I’d recommend water sealing it or lining it with a plastic tarp of some sort. Ours is not a permanent fixture so we did neither.
- TIPS: Your INTERIOR measurements are what’s important. So if you’re using 2″ thick wood for your sandbox walls, you’d want to factor that in when building the box.
- Caulk to seal the inside of the sandbox. I guess this wasn’t super necessary but our kids liked using the caulk gun.
- Sand that will cover your entire sandbox with at least 4″ of sand.
- We used Play Sand from Home Depot and added a little bit of water when we did the demonstrations. This way we could do a bit more molding. We used 3, 50lb bags ($3.90 x 3 = $11.70)
- Some places recommend white sand such as this kind from Sandtastic but its much more expensive ($31.99 x 6 = $191.94)
- You can also use Moon Sand ($58.04 x 8 = $464.32) or Kinetic Sand ($49.99 x 14 = $699.86) if you want a crazy experience.
- A computer with at least the following:
- Running the 64bit version of Linux
- At least an Intel i5 (preferrably an i7 processor) running at least 3GHz. The better the processor, the faster the Kinect can scan and simultaneous project what it’s rendering. Ours was about a 3 second delay because of our 5 year old i5. We found an i5 processor in an old computer in the technology “death room”.
- 2 GB of RAM to run the software.
- A hard drive with at least 20GB free for the installation of Linux and the software
- A sweet graphics card. We used a GTX 950 ($177.99) but I would not go any lower than that. Ideally, go with the 980TI ($619.99) as it will look much more like the quality in the video above. We have a lot of students that build their own computers for fun. One of our students that was instrumental in building this had a 950 that we used.
- A first generation xBox Kinect for the Xbox 360 (not the Xbox One!) A lot of kids have upgraded to Xbox One so we had several kids bring in their “extra” kinects.
- A short throw projector. (Teachers: Think ceiling mounted projector for SMART board vs. the ones you’d set on a cart in the back of the classroom). Originally we used an old projector from the technology “death room” but the bulb died the day before the “show” (#storyofmylife). So much to the displeasure of my technology department, I stole the one from my library classroom. (#sorrynotsorry)
- You’ll want a projector that has HDMI or DVI that way you can take full advantage of the graphics card. You can still use a projector that has a VGA component, but it will definitely cut back on the quality output.
- Something the mount the projector and Kinect above the sandbox.
- Your Kinect should be mounted at the same height as your box is wide. (Our box was 32″ wide, so we mounted the Kinect 32″ high)
- A vacuum (see images below)
- Mountain Dew, Italian Four Cheese CheezIts (“must haves” according to middle schoolers)
- Camera to document everything
Basically, it will look like this.
Or, if you can’t read middle school, this:
MORE FROM THE ADVENTURE
AND. IT. WAS. AWESOME.
The community response on the AR sandbox was overwhelmingly positive. People thought this was a project for gifted and they were so surprised to learn that this wasn’t a project at all, it was just a bunch of kids interested in learning more about this.
As I was editing this post, we received a phone call asking us to present at the Business Leaders Breakfast next week. I guess I’ll be dismantling that projector in my library again 🙂