Sega's created the projection-mapped kids' sandbox of the future

If grown-ups can have flashier, fancier toys as the years go by, why not kids? Sega's latest games machine will in arcades... as well as car dealership waiting room, and real estate offices. It's not any old regular video game, though -- it's an interactive sandbox that projects images based on what players are building. Sega calls it "Eederu Sunaba" or Picture Appears! Sandbox (a loose translation, but hey), and it's equipped with sensors that can determine the height differences on the surface of the (non-sticky) sand, along with a projector to make the magic happen. If a kid (or an adult -- no judgment here) piles up sand to make a hill, the projector beams an image that makes it look like it's covered in grass, or even in snow if the hill's tall enough to be a mountain.

Trenches, on the other hand, are filled with digital water, complete with schools of swimming fish, though the system can also project insects like ladybugs and butterflies instead. These virtual organisms can even detect if you're trying to touch (or squish) them. Definitely beats trying to craft a sandcastle in the playground and coming up with something that looks like a mound of dirt, doesn't it? If you don't live in Japan, you can ask those University of West Bohemia students how they created their Kinect sandbox (that's very similar to this one) back in 2011. Or, you can just watch the video below and live vicariously through those happy Japanese kids.

[Image credit: Nikkei Technology/Sega]