BySimon Rune Knudsen, writer at
A tryhard person enthusiastic about dad rock and weird beers.
Simon Rune Knudsen

VR is already on a victory march through video game land as more and more studios are embracing the immersive potential of the virtual and augmented reality through Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Microsoft Kinect.

But game developers aren't the only ones trying their hand at this new technology, as is apparent when you watch this new video released by the German car manufacturer Audi. They've created a sandbox-themed driving game featuring their own cars, and it shows off the creative potential of mixed reality.

Forming Your Own Sandy Playing Field

Remember how much fun you had playing in the sandbox as a kid? With just your childish imagination and a couple of toy cars, you could spend hours in the enclosed case of tiny rocks pretending to be a race car driver or a desert travelling adventurer.

Well, now Audi is letting you get inside those toy cars, trying out the sandbox tracks you made for yourself.

The project is called Enter Sandbox and is a part of the marketing campaign of the new Audi Q5. But no matter the reason for the invention, we think the idea is pretty damn awesome.

But.. How Does It Work?

Enter Sandbox is a real-time virtual reality project that utilizes the technology of a Kinect depth-sensing camera. The device scans the actual, real-life sandbox, which you beforehand has formed just the way you want it, and stores the terrain data.

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To capture every bump, dune and curve, the sandbox is sprayed with tiny bursts of infrared light which captures data from more than 200,000 measure points through the infrared camera. The data is processed through an Oculus Rift which is connected to an actual driver seat of a Q5, steering wheel, pedals and all.

The seat becomes a portal to the sandy world and lets you drive in, through, over and under all the obstacles, tracks and sand formations you just created. On top of that, the driver should experience many of the complications of a real-life drive, from feedback in the steering wheel to the actual sounds of an Audi Q5.

Not Something You Will Be Able To Try At Home

[Credit: Audi]
[Credit: Audi]

As most of us doesn't have a Q5 driver rig lying around, the Enter Sandbox experience isn't something you'll be able to try out at home. It was developed by MediaMonks as a creative concept for Audi Norway, and if you want to try it out the in-store installation you'll have to catch while it's touring Audi stores in Norway through March and April.

Or hope it might come to a store near you. Luckily, the idea might may be made available to other countries after the launch phase. The simulator can be transported pretty easily, so it's not unlikely that we'll one day get a chance to shape and drive around in our very own sandbox if we come by the right Audi store.

Do you have a cool idea for how to utilize virtual or augmented reality in video games? Let us know in the comments!


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