The S.A.N.D.B.O.X.

The SANDBOX (Scientists Accessing Necessary Data Based On eXperimentation) is a virtual reality tool allowing an investigator to visualize the contents of a scientific database while retrieving data. As the data in these databases was typically collected through experimentation, an investigator can use the SANDBOX to retrieve data from the database by placing virtual instruments into a virtual reenactment of the original experiment. These instruments give visual and auditory feedback, allowing the user to browse through the data, setting up and running experiments until they have collected the data they need. We have implemented a prototype of the SANDBOX on a subset of NASA's FIFE scientific database using the CAVE(tm) virtual reality theatre.


Andy in the CAVE playing with the SANDBOX.

Overview of the virtual environment (a 20KM square patch of Kansas.) The left wall holds the calendar for choosing experimental dates. The right wall holds the instrument pallet for choosing instruments. The front wall holds the graphs and position indicator.

The instrument pallet - showing the instruments that can be placed into the virtual experiment. The thermometer, wind-sock, and water beaker access measurements taken on the ground. The satellite maps multi-band LANDSAT photographs onto the ground. The helicopter maps ground moisture readings taken from the air on top of the ground. The notepad and camera show textual and graphical meta-data.

Some instruments placed in the virtual experiment giving feedback. The thermometer, wind-sock, and water beaker show thei results graphically in the instrument itself, numerically above the instrument, audibly, and on the graph wall. The camera is showing a site photograph taken on the ground during the actual experiments.



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