Cabe Atwell

September 29, 2014

2 Min Read
Video: Interactive, Arcade-Style Sandbox

Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs) are a passion of mine. I am forever looking for a better way to use the PC that's faster than the old keyboard and mouse. Capacitive touch screens showed me much is possible. Kinect, Leap Motion, and a few others tried, but failed to replace the standard. Sega has something that, I think, has potential.

Ah, remember those lovely outings to the park, where you got to play in the sandbox and pretend that your mound of sand was a castle with a moat and alligators? Well, those days are long gone in Japan. Sega has created a new arcade-style sand box that uses projector mapping and height sensors to project landscapes, colors, and figures onto the sand.


The arcade-style sandbox uses height sensors to gauge fluctuations in the surface of the sand. Then, it uses 3D mapping software to project a topographic landscape onto the sand that corresponds with what the player is making. For instance, if someone is building a mound, then it will 3D project a little snow cap on the top of the mountain, while little holes in the sand become lakes, and other level parts become grassy meadows. There are many settings on the sandbox that allow the player to change the season, which changes the type of 3D landscape that will be projected. The sandbox can also project fish swimming in the lakes, and can project bugs, or any related figures, to make the experience more real.

Additionally, the sandbox can detect human movement, so if a user tries to touch a bug, the bug will react and move.

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About the Author(s)

Cabe Atwell

Cabe is an electrical engineer, machinist, maker, cartoonist, and author with 25 years’ experience. When not designing/building, he creates a steady stream of projects and content in the media world at element14,, MAKE ─ among others. His most recent book is “Essential 555 IC: Design, Configure, and Create Clever Circuits.

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