‘Sandbox Ocean’ is a multi-user interactive installation. Users collaborate in creating a dynamic and animated world by changing and shaping the topography of a sandbox.

The interface is simple, intuitive and playful. Customizing Microsoft’s Kinect system, our project adds a new-media dimension to the playful sandbox of our childhood.

Viewers approaching the sandbox view a projected landscape. The landscape is comprised of a large ocean inhabited by a variety of sea creatures, and islands with a diversity of vegetation.

As users dig into the sand, shifting it around, piling it up into new mounds, the landscape transforms in front of their eyes. New creatures are born into new waters, and new trees grow on the newly formed lands. High tide transitions to low tide introducing new creatures: crabs, starfish and shellfish. Day transitions to night, bringing with it a colorful array of nocturnal creatures. A lighthouse can be placed on the top of any user-created mount and its beam will immediately scan the landscape.

Our interactive sandbox is a fully working prototype. We feel that we have only just begun to explore the possibilities of this 3D sandbox interface.

Communication objective –

‘Sandbox Ocean’ is an environment for collaborative creative play. The malleable sand interface fosters an activity that emphasizes mutual and collaborative play rather than competition.

The physical interaction is intended to bring digital media back from the mediated world of the computer screen into the realm of tangible experience.

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