As augmented reality (AR) grows in popularity and relevence, it becomes increasingly important for children and young people to have access to it, so they will learn about the tools that be major parts of their working lives. A public library at Stillwater, Oklahoma are doing just that by giving children free access to an AR sandbox.
The idea of an AR sandbox was conceived by researchers at U.C. Davis as a way to make maps come alive in order to increase interest in subjects such as geography, topology and geology. The AR sandbox available in Stillwater uses 3D software to represent the hills and valleys of the local area in a way that is more engaging for children.
The AR sondbox in use at Stillwater Public Library was created by students at part of a makerspace project at the library, which offers different types of programs for grades between 6-12 every Friday during the school year.
Speaking to the Stillwater News Press, Teen Services librarian Amanda Bell said: “We chose this project to let the teens tackle a design challenge from start to finish. I gave them our physical and financial restrictions and showed them how to find information online, but the entire project was theirs. From the shopping lists and computer assembly to the coding and final product, every single step was designed and carried out by the teens.”
The AR sandbox is available for viewing and interaction on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 1pm and 5pm, from the 7th-25th August, 2017. It is hoped that the sandbox will soon be available for use by another organisation.
“It could be a great way for kids and teens to study topography, earth sciences, geography, weather and many other topics.” Said Bell.
VRFocus will continue to report on new and innovative AR and VR projects.