Taoti was thrilled to be included in Washington Post’s top tech firms’ April Fools Day jokers list. And while our first Augmented Reality app, Hatch.it, was a big hit with users – even though it didn’t perform mind-reading eggs-actly as promised, it did show off what we can do with Apple’s new ARKit developer AR platform.
The app has a spoofed business intelligence tool that claims to solve your top business challenges by interpreting the results of an interactive Rorschach Test. The app determines the solution to any business challenge is to shoot VR ducks all over the room. While the business advice is lousy, the AR capabilities being displayed are legit!
ARKit is the technology tool that allows developers to create augmented reality for Apple’s iOS 11, was powerful enough to create an AR experience that could display and blow up ducks in a virtual space. Blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, ARKit takes users beyond the screen so they can interact with the physical world in unexpected ways.
To add 3-D objects to the screen, we needed a 3-D game engine. We went with SceneKit from Apple. In developer language, SceneKit incorporates a physics engine, a particle generator, and scripting actions so we could plot the how and when our ducks were going to land on the screen. In plain English, it allows us to place and animate ducks wherever we want them.
After the app is launched and ARKit maps what the camera “sees,” it “analyzes” direct integration of context-aware spatial analysis. Basically, users touch a few times, anywhere – and the ducks start flying and quacking. It’s usable and it’s immersive.
That’s not all. Because of the physics engine of SceneKit, the onscreen ducks are actually affected by gravity and can even collide with each other. Careful though, your presence is built into the app; you can walk into a duck or move it away with your location.
If this wasn’t enough tech built into our prank app, we used a particle generator so when you tap on a duck it will explode and spread Easter eggs – all affected by physics. Yep, when a duck explodes up in the air, you can follow its free-fall down to earth. Isaac Newton would be proud.
Just for kicks, we randomized duck sizes and gave each size of duck its own signature quack. If you’re lucky you might even spot DuckZilla!
For good measure, the app has Hit Testing. That means when you tap the screen with your finger, an invisible ray is projected into the 3-D space. If a duck intersects with where the ray is aimed, it will explode. Think of Dr. Evil saying “Lazers” and using air quotes.
All of the technology was executed by lead iOS developer Adrien Yvon. To pull it all together we also needed to package the app in a great design. Martyn Green provided the visual design, the sound layer and directed the project overall, to help shape the concept. Our UX lead TJ Gioconda kept the project on the rails and came through with a unique system to make the plane detection better, and he drew “Meep, the hatched duck”.
Many other Taoti people were involved though – the social media crew, our in-house beta-testers; it really is a team effort around here. That’s just the Taoti way. The Hatch.it app is just a small taste of what we can do for our clients who are ready to seize the future right now. Are you in?