This app turns your basic animal doodles into detailed AR animals

Doodlar has great potential for education and commercial purposes, and it's the sort of wholesome fun we can get behind.

Now that we don't have as many meetings as we used to, we're not doodling as much. We sort of miss it (the doodling, not the meetings). The results can be bizarre, like this endless stream of furry art, or crude and simple, like the firework dicks we can thank Animal Crossing: New Horizons players for. Whichever medium, app, style, or variation they arrive in, doodles rock, but ours don't tend to be very lifelike. A new app adds augmented reality (AR) smarts to the mix, and more than makes up for our lack of artistic prowess.

The Doodlar app allows you to draw an animal on screen and let the software guess what you're trying to show. Once the app guesses it, an AR version of the animal is rendered seconds later. Consider my little piggy example below.


And, voila. Or oink, rather.


Your animals may vary — Your drawing of a snake may differ from someone else's drawing of the very same thing (theirs might look more like a lumpy sock). What makes Doodlar complex and nuanced is that its program is trained on thousands of users' individual drawings of different animals. And the results can range from highly accurate to nonsensical at times.

Consider another personal example. I tried to draw a snake in Doodlar. The app incorrectly viewed my snake as a potential bear. So, when you're using Doodlar, you can expect the occasional hiccup. The trick is not to take it personally.


"At its heart Doodlar comes from a hope to make tech relevant and useful – too much is done for the sake of it when it comes to tech," the creator of the app, Mat Dobson, told design site It's Nice That. Dobson says by trying to understand various representations of the same thing, the app is in a sense practicing the sort of lateral thinking we associate with creativity.

Education and advertising uses — Aimed at children between the ages 6 and 10, Doodlar is not only meant to entertain users but also educate and challenge them. But it's maker is also considering the commercial use cases.

"It’s a brand new form of interaction for AR experiences, so we’re hoping it leaves its mark from an industry point of view too," Dobson explained. "And because we can make Doodlar recognize anything, we’re talking to brands about how it might work for their IP and product." Which sounds to us like we might see it pop up in the advertising, marketing, or entertainment sectors soon enough.