GRAVBOX


AN AUGMENTED REALITY SANDBOX FOR GRAVITATIONAL DYNAMICS

Home Software Hardware Team
We are a group of students, staff, and faculty with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa who are interested in using an augmented reality (AR) sandbox to demonstrate gravitational dynamics. While gravitational interactions are the most important processes in astronomy, it is difficult to visually portray them in the classroom. Our development of the GravBox aims to remedy this by creating an interactive Augmented Reality (AR) environment for use in high-school and undergraduate astronomy classes. GravBox uses a 3D Kinect camera to read a real sand topography and convert it into a mass density field. A test particle can then be injected into this field in real time, responding to changes in the sand surface. The dynamical interactions are then projected back onto the sand as well as displayed by a secondary monitor. This allows students to gain a better intuition for the complex gravitational fields and mass distributions that fill the Universe. Support for this work is provided by the National Science Foundation (grant AST-1614326) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa.

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