Feb 27, 2020
Fresno State students test out the augmented sandbox in the Engineering East building, April 6, 2016. The sandbox is an engineering tool used for topography, geography, water shed analysis and many more. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Students and faculty demonstrate the latest technology

Students and faculty from the Lyles College of Engineering demonstrated on Wednesday the latest technology in mechanical and geomatics engineering.

There were three different engineering machines on display for people to view and interact with.

Students crowded in front of an Augmented Reality Sandbox, taking turns watching colors change with every movement of sand.

Using an XBox Kinect and infrared sensors, the camera on the sandbox displayed a model in 2D back on top of the sand.

Victor Rasgado, a geomatics engineering student showed, off the sandbox, explaining how it works.

“What we are doing is remote sensing, and so the principles behind it are called photogrammetry,” Rasgado said. “So you have two cameras here, and what they do is overlap one another, and from there you get a good x and y, so any changes we make we know our corner coordinates as well as our center. From there it’s able to critically platform, but the infrared cameras are what allow it to sense depth.”

This image displays the depth of the sand in different colors, with the highest depths in red and the lowest depths in blue.

Rasgado said the display helps promote topographic maps and what engineering students do.

An engineering student created the sandbox, but the other two mechanical displays were purchased.

Scott Peterson, an engineering professor, did a demonstration scan of the Fresno State’s Bulldog mascot, Victor E. Bulldog III, using the old scanner and then the new one the Leica ScanStation P20.

Peterson explained what the scanner could be used for.

“It creates a 3D model,” Peterson said. “I’m creating things all from a distance. We sent it using light and the technology to then be able to create what this room looks like, the dimensions of it, the height of it, what’s in there, the characteristics of it.”

Peterson said the machine could be used to scan an entire building, or scan the height of a bridge without even getting up on top of it.

Students need to know how to use tools like this, Peterson said.

“They need to understand that when they get out in the real world, they’re going to be problem solvers,” Peterson said. “They got to know all the tools to best use what their client is looking for.”

Peterson said his favorite part of teaching was working with his students.

“I love seeing the students, ‘Aah” I get it now, I understand it, I see how this is going to work,’” Peterson said. “And I hope that they see in me the excitement I have for this profession. I see this, and I geek out about it.”

These investments help students see what is applicable in real life, Peterson said.

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