SandScape is a tangible interface for designing and understanding landscapes through a variety of computational simulations using sand. Users view these simulations as they are projected on the surface of a sand model that represents the terrain. The users can choose from a variety of different simulations that highlight either the height, slope, contours, shadows, drainage or aspect of the landscape model. The users can alter the form of the landscape model by manipulating sand while seeing the resultant effects of computational analysis generated and projected on the surface of sand in real-time. The project demonstrates an alternative form of computer interface (tangible user interface) that takes advantage of our natural ability to understand and manipulate physical forms while still harnessing the power of computational simulation to help in our understanding of a model representation.


H Ishii, C Ratti, B Piper, Y Wang, A Biderman and E Ben-Joseph. 2004. Bringing clay and sand into digital design – continuous tangible user interfaces. BT Technology Journal, Vol 22 No 4, October 2004. [pdf]

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Tangible Media Group