Augmented Reality Sandbox

This fantastic hands-on exhibit combines a real sandbox with virtual topography and water. It does so by using a closed loop of a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera, powerful simulation and visualization software, and a data projector. The augmented reality (AR) sandbox allows users to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches geographic, geologic, and hydro-logic concepts such as how to read a topography map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees, and much more. The open-source software was designed by a team of scientists at UC-Davis.*

More info: |Terms & Conditions

Customers include:

  • NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • University of Austria

...and many other fine educational institutions!


  • Weather Controls

    4 buttons to control water/lava, rain/drought.

  • Planet Controls

    Select between an Earth & Mars layout.

  • Easy Clean-up

    Features a sand catch surrounding the box for easy clean-up.

  • Software

    User-friendly software comes preinstalled & ready to use.

  • Plug & Play

    Comes pre calibrated & ready to use out of the box.


Note: Sand not included
(we recommend 50+ lbs of Sandtastik).

  • Microsoft Kinect

    Senses the changes made in the sandbox.

  • Projector

    Displays the map.

  • Computer

    Comes with keyboard, mouse, and AR software installed.

  • Sandbox

    Where all the magic happens.

  • Instructions

    For setting up and re-calibrating your AR sandbox.


  • Built in the USA

    Designed & manufactured in Chico, CA.

  • Dimensions

    48”W • 38”D • 80”H

  • Sandbox Dimensions

    35”W • 25”D • 6”H

  • Materials

    3/4" high pressure laminate, maple, pine.

  • Power Requirements

    120 volt ac

You may also be interested in the DIY Kit AR Sandbox for $4995.00 plus shipping.

Learn More

Learn More

AR Sandbox Assembly Video: A video guide to unpacking, assembling and turning on your Augmented Reality Sandbox Exhibit.

*The Augmented Reality Sandbox was developed by the UC Davis W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES,, supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1114663. For more information, please visit

Customer Testimonial:

“Schreder Planetarium received grants and support from friends to purchase an Augmented Reality Sandbox from Idea Fab Labs and our visitors are thrilled! We have several major interactive exhibits at the planetarium but the Sandbox is the hit by far. Both kids and adults enjoy changing the landscape and watching the elevation colors instantly change to match the new land forms.

Sometimes I just let them do this for awhile as they oooh and ahhh before I tell them about the rain feature. Once they fill their watersheds with “water” their wonder increases even more. In our world these landscapes can be on any planet, which makes the lava function a terrific fit for us. More than once a visitor has said that the Sandbox alone is worth the price of admission. We opted to keep the workings exposed and the wood natural for a more industrial-technological feel. Maintenance has been easy with almost all sand staying in the box. The bit that is spilled is caught by the exterior trough. ”

-Nate Fairchild
Director of Science Programs
Shasta County Office of Education