bigger and better aR sandbox

We made a bigger and better aR sandbox

My dog's mind being blown

My brother is a construction manager and I'm a software engineer, so this was the perfect project for us to collaborate on. I also got to give my nephew an awesome 3rd birthday present and have an excuse to upgrade my gaming rig in order to donate my old parts to the project.

The inspiration came from this Reddit /r/DIY post:

A magic sandbox I made for my 3 y.o. son’s birthday. Detailed BOM and source code included. from DIY

Construction dimensions and PC hardware requirements can be found on the software creator's site:
idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/ResDev/SARndbox/

Sandbox contruction

The frame is 40×30 to match to 4:3 aspect ratio of the projector. My brother framed the box walls first, then fastened plywood to the bottom side. Then he put a 2×6 under the two ends to support the plywood and a 3rd support in the center extended past the side 12" which the projector support mounts to.
Sandbox staining

Here you can see the aforementioned projector and Kinect support. The box was stained with dark brown urethane.
Fully assembled sandbox

The Kinect must be centered over the middle of the plane, but precision is not reauired here becasue the software can be calibrated to compensate for an offset. The projector throws from the backside and its image can also be calibrated to fit the plane perfectly.
Projector calibrated

The blue you see on the side walls is just a reflection. We fought for awhile with the projector's horrendous UI to get the throw to line up.
The Linux PC build

Ready to harvest my old parts from my gaming PC. Always have a 4 legged spotter when doing any PC work.
The kid can learn cable management himself

The initial build was as follows:
AMD FX-8150 CPUMSI 970A-G43 motherboard
EVGA GTX 660
8 GB g.skill RipJawsX DDR3 RAM
Corsair H100i water cooling
500 Gb Seagate HDD
EVGA 500W power supply
My cable managed gaming rig for comparison

Core i5 6600k CPUGigabyte Z170X-Gaming 3 motherboard
Zotac GTX 1080 Founder's Edition
16 Gb g.skill TridentZ DDR4 RAM
Crucial 120 Gb SSD (OS)
Samsung Evo 850 250 Gb SSD (Games)
Western Digital 1 TB HDD
H100i v2 water cooling
Corsair 700W modular power supply
NZXT H440 case
The initial run

Fighting with the crappy projector UI again
Pre-calibration

The Kinect had not been calibrated so the sand surface was registering as being too low. The blue color is supposed to be the deepest point.
Post-calibration

The blue is now only projected when a hole is dug lower than the base plane.
I broke stuff

During some hardware fiddling I accidentally unplugged the water pump and fried the CPU and motherboard. Oopsie. We replaced them with an MSI 970 Gaming motherboard and AMD FX-6300 CPU. My safety spotter is trying to protect the new hardware from me.
Upgrading the graphics

We weren't happy with the performance of the water simulation from the GTX 660, so I'm lending my 1080 until our GTX 1060 arrives. The recommended GPU is a GTX 970, but ut's unclear whether VRAM or clock speed is the biggest performance driver. I just went by comparing FLOPS. The 970's 3494 GFLOPS is comparable to the 1060's 3470 GFLOPS.
The reveal

My nephew was instantly enamored with the sandbox. He could have played with it for hours but he had to go to bed. The struggles of being a toddler.
Action shot

We're really happy with the performance and outcome of the AR sandbox. My brother definitely had the easy job with the construction portion. It was a huge pain to get all the technology working and optimized but absolutely worth the time and money. Big thanks to Oliver Kreylos for creating this software and lots of other cool VR projects.
Source : Jake_Query from Reddit