Sandbox World


Building an Interactive Sandbox


Sandbox World is a Kinect-controlled, multiplayer interactive sandbox experience developed by Anticlockwise Arts. Participants shape the sand to form islands, mountains, rivers, and oceans.

Sculpt a Miniature Landscape

Sandbox World uses a top-down Kinect sensor to measure the height levels of a sandbox and then projects a dynamic world onto it. This project won the Maker Faire 2013 Educator’s Choice award.



Fun, Easy-to-Understand Interaction

What’s more playful than a sandbox?


Real-time Dynamic Feedback

The landscape adjusts as participants shape valleys, dig rivers, and pile up mountains.


Emergent Cooperative Play

With three open sides and multiple available tools, participants are encouraged to play together.

The Process

Sandbox World evolved from a series of Kinect experiments at Anticlockwise Arts. We knew there were interesting opportunities to explore by combining the Kinect’s depth map with projection mapping. After experimenting with a variety of sculptable surfaces, we decided on a sandbox.

Interestingly, Sandbox World contains no actual sand. Due to dust, dirt, and weight, we opted to utilize fake snow (sodium polyacrylate) instead. It is much cleaner and can be transported easily.

Behind the scenes, we used Unity to run the simulation and wrote custom shaders to drive the terrain system.


Keywords: Interactive Installation, Kinect, Unity, Game

Matt Sonic