Just when you thought a box of sand was the last vestige of childhood playthings that don't require a wall socket or battery pack, along comes the augmented reality sandbox (another video here). Looking at the notes for the project, the goal of making a real-time topography model to serve as a backdrop for graphics effects appears to have been met with amazing results.
Not only does it color and topographically mark your sand castles and moats, but a hand gesture "creates" water that flows accordingly. Given the Kinect 3D lineage of the software, I wonder why they stopped at water. Why not boulders and soapbox racers?
A few months ago I saw an art installation that consisted of a table made of stretched fabric and a sensor/projector set-up not unlike this augmented sandbox. Touching the fabric caused the light to change and also produced sounds. Neat, I thought, but what would you do with it? Sandbox did not occur to me.
For that matter, I've seen a few futuristic Kinect demonstrations at company conferences (Kinect is a Microsoft product). I think the msnbc.com interface actually exists on Kinect already. You call up the menu and speak to it and gesture to turn the pages. Looking at this sandbox, I'm thinking my ceiling fan should have a sensor/projector to augment my living room.
No doubt that is soon to come.