ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Craig Kapp

Sim Snails

An immersive 3D augmented reality environment that lets visitors play and experiment with the concepts of evolution and natural selection.

Art/Science Collisions: Communicating With Data,Computational Cameras

SimSnails is an interactive visualization and teaching tool that helps visitors learn about and experiment with the concept of natural selection from the relative safety of the ITP Spring Show. Using a technique called “Augmented Reality,” SimSnails uses a set of printed symbols and a video camera to create an immersive 3D world that seamlessly coexists with our own.

Visitors can watch as they wave cards in front of the camera to bring life to a colony of 3D snails that live, breed and get eaten by predators right in front of their eyes. The experience is designed to be flexible and playful, allowing you to modify aspects of the environment to see how the population adapts. Visitors can affect the landscape, reproduction cycle and even the rate of mutation in the snail population by simply holding up a printed card in the air. The inner workings of the simulation can be inspected by using similar symbols that cause dynamic 3D data visualization tools to pop up right in the palm of your hand.

SimSnails is an instructional technology tool that illustrates basic concepts in evolutionary biology to individuals with little or no knowledge of the subject matter. It is designed to be a teaching supplement that could be used in a classroom or science museum.