project details

Type: Educational AR Simulator

Collaboration: Design & Science

Deliverable: UI/UX Design, Mobile App, Branding

Year: 2017

Field: Interactive, Branding, Human-Centered Design

Funding: National Science Foundation ($405,011)

Gravbox is an interactive sandbox that simulates gravitational dynamics and was developed to teach abstract astronomy concepts to students.

While gravitational interactions are the most important processes in astronomy, it is difficult to visually portray them in the classroom. 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.

Initial functionality of the simulator relied heavily on the app component. Therefore, creating a fun and engaging interface and user experience was essential for a successful learning outcome.

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.

External design of the simulator

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