Via Geoff Manaugh at BLDBLOG and the US Military, a spectacular digital/analog sandbox!
Yes, it's developed for war games and military planning and operations, but wow, does it look like fun. The digital dimensions are powered by Microsoft's X-box Kinect sensor, it can be networked, and any kind of digital landscape imagery can be projected onto the sand. As Manaugh comments, it "would seem to have some pretty awesome uses in an architecture or landscape design studio" and just think of the applications (and the fun) in education at all levels. It's interesting that comments on the BLDBLOG post point out that the sandbox and the associated technology was originally developed by Oliver Kreylos at UC Davis. Herewith, a photo from the website of the Augmented Reality Sandbox at the W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences:
There's an inspiring video of Oliver Kreylos explaining and demonstrating the sandbox on YouTube.
Now, go to Military.com for another compelling (but inevitably warfare-focussed) video of this thing in action. It's top of my list for Santa...