Living Coasts have installed an augmented reality sandpit to encourage active sensory play.
Spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “We wanted to provide new and better stuff for kids. This is for children of all ages plus family groups, it’s disability-friendly and adds a new dimension to a fun day out. The sandpit uses the latest software technology from Breeze Creative, based in the US. The coastal and underwater scenes suit us perfectly.”
The sandbox is enhanced with sensors and projections. When children shape the sand into mountains and valleys, an overhead sensor maps the area, analyses the change and reacts to it. The raised areas turn green and plants appear randomly. In the low areas, the projection is sea blue and marine creatures appear there and move around. The coastal areas become yellow, like sand on a beach, and crabs appear.
Operations Manager Clare Rugg said: “It’s really quite amazing. When the system detects someone moving around the sandbox, more creatures appear in that area. The creatures and plants react to height and stay in their natural environment. The combination of direct physical interaction, a familiar tactile material like sand and the technology work together in a surprising and delightful way. It’s fun, active and creative. Staff love it – but they have to give way to guests when we open at 10:00am!”
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