A face-drawing robot, animated 3D drawing app, and more crazy Android Experiments

From collecting pins to offering free Marshmallow-themed smoothies, Android has a heavy presence at Mobile World Congress as always. Following with that “fun” vibe, Google has a number of Android Experiments it’s showcasing at the show.

Android Experiments documents fun and interesting work by creative individuals from anywhere in the world — you can submit your own experiment here. On display at MWC 2016 were the IOIO Plotter, a 3D sketching app, and more.

IOIO Plotter


This is probably the coolest of all the experiments that were showcased. The IOIO Plotter, by Ytai Ben-Ysvi, is a little robot that makes line drawings of your portrait after you take a selfie. After you take a selfie with your phone’s camera, the application grayscales it, and then has an algorithm to find the dark spots in the image to have the robot draw one continious line. Those points are also sent to the two motors on the robot so that it can triangulate the position of the points to draw your portrait. The robot has a marker suspended by two strings that took about five minutes to complete a sketch. You can recreate the project, as Android Experiments in open sourced. You’ll find all the materials you need listed at the bottom of the experiment’s description here.



Inkspace is an app created by Zach Lieberman, and it uses the accelerometer in your phone to make your drawings into interactive, animated 3D sketches. You can draw anything on the screen, and if you tilt the screen it moves the drawing onto a different side so you can add more to it. You can also hit the Lightning button to create an animated line that continually redraws itself to add more interesting artwork.



Elements is an app available on the Google Play store that uses a phone’s camera to add some color to patterns you generate. You can set the type of shapes you want to create, as well as the animation speed and rotation. The highlight feature that utilizes the camera, however, is how it adds the color it sees with the camera to the pattern. So at the booth, there was a giant canvas with colors ranging from blue to red and everything in between. You could move the tablet up and down in front of the canvas, and whatever color it was on matched the color of the pattern displayed on the device. Elements, by Liacan also choose between using the front camera or the rear one.



This app, which is also available on the Google Play store, experiments with facial recognition. Essentially, these cute ball creatures start filling up your phone’s screen, but once the app recognizes a face, the little circles get spooked and scatter. It uses a face detection algorithm to determine if the creatures are being watched.

There were a few more little experiments at the booth, but a lot more you can browse through on the Android Experiments website. You’ll have the option of trying to recreate a project with the instructions provided, or you can grab completed apps on the Google Play store.


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