Kids these days have it so good! Check out this virtual reality sandbox, an awesome educational toy that melds the digital and physical worlds in an amazing way. While it first appears to be a normal sandbox (oh, youth) this playspace actually is meant to help youngsters—and probably playful adults—learn about topography, erosion, and watershed. Using a Microsoft Kinect camera and a projector above the silica-filled space, the system displays topo lines that interact in real-time. It becames a dynamic, colorful exercise and apparently is somewhat addictive.
Researchers at U.C. Davis developed the software and have kept it open source—there are even blueprints of the sandbox available on their website that you can download. In the demonstration video above, Oliver Kreylos of the University says he's recieved about a dozen emails from people around the world who have built their own versions.
It's meant to be an educational tool, but it looks like it's a lot more fun than that. What happens when you get some army guys and Tonka trucks in there?