Today we are going to talk about a new augmented reality graffiti app that we recently discovered. Currently this web app is only available to Android users with Chrome Canary installed, but with the rise of augmented reality technologies and development we expect it to available to anybody in the near future.
What is augmented reality?
Remember the Pokemon Go that everybody was playing a few years ago? The technology used in that to allow users to see and interact with the Pokemon was augmented reality. It essentially comes down to the device locating surfaces and placing an object on that surface to make it appear as though it is really in front of you.
What is this app?
This app was designed to allow users to express themselves legally and freely with art. The artist can draw anything and they have made it anonymous so that if you choose to channel your inner street artist, you can. This art is uploaded as soon as the artist draws and submits it. Then anybody in the near vicinity can walk up and view it. While you cannot see exactly where the artist intended the art to be displayed you can look around and choose a place you think it would fit best. This allows for the artist and audience to have their own interpretations of the art.
Why is this app different?
There are plenty of augmented reality and drawing apps out there already. However, they all require a download of some sort and very few, if any, combine the augmented reality and drawing into one. As technology continues to expand and push more towards augmented reality and virtual reality we will see other mobile devices and browsers begin to support it. The developers have chosen to create and host the application on a web server. This means that as soon as the support comes users will be able to connect. No other application we have seen will have this level of support.
Why should I use this app?
This app appeals to a lot of people. Even if you can’t draw or don’t want to draw anything you can just walk around and view other people’s art. This might be good motivation to check out new parts of town and see what others are doing and thinking while they’re there. If you enjoyed apps such as Yik Yak you may enjoy this. With it allowing anonymous art you can expect people to be able to freely express themselves and become even more creative than you might if their art was linked to them. This app is also on a browser and the browser can be used for your daily internet searches also so you’re not wasting time or space on your phone to test it out.
Who does this app appeal to?
Realistically anybody can enjoy this application. The only people who may not enjoy it are those that hate art or could be easily offended. The anonymous uploading allows for the possibility of profanity or disturbing drawings. Due to this it is recommended that only adult audiences use the app. When asked, the developers said that the ability to remove or block drawings could be blocking creativity of users and this goes against their goals. They said that if enough serious problems occur there may be an update including a report button or a system in which users can have images removed, but there is no intention of this currently.
How to use the app
- Make sure your device is on this list: https://developers.google.com/ar/discover/supported-devices
- Download this software: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.ar.core&e=-EnableAppDetailsPageRedesign
- Install this browser: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chrome.canary
- In Canary add two Chrome flags (chrome://flags): WebXRDevice API (#webxr) and WebXR Hit Test (#webxr-hit-test)
- Go to this site on your Canary browser and enjoy: https://speaktoadit.com/ar-app/
Altogether this app is new and unique. We’ve never seen anything like this before and we enjoyed trying it out. Currently there are very few users on so finding art drawn by others is pretty rare. We believe that when more people start using the system it will become more and more enjoyable. We are hoping that Apple and other browser supports will come sooner than later and draw in more users with it. Overall I would recommend anybody give this a try if they can. Go out and see if you can find some of the art I left around!
The group of developers that worked on the application wanted to give a bit of insight into their inspiration and decisions. They first planned to create an application that would allow users to drop virtual text messages at certain locations based on where they are when they drop it. Nearby users would then be able to see that messages have been dropped near them and view these messages on their device. They decided it wouldn’t have been enough of a challenge and so decided to try their hands at augmented reality. They had never worked with AR before this project so it would prove to be an experience that would teach them a wealth of new knowledge.
As what could be expected when working with a completely new technology, they faced many obstacles throughout the development process. The first major obstacle they faced was deciding how to implement their AR feature. They decided on using a Google API which allowed implementing to be easy but limited devices that would be able to use their application. The next major obstacle was figuring out how to allow the user to draw something and then translate that drawing into an object to be put into AR. It took weeks to finally figure out a solution to display user’s drawings.
Overall, they are satisfied with how the project turned out. They still know many improvements that can be made and may possibly continue to work on it in the future to have the application meet their initial ambitions.