Bringing Drawings to Life: Animated Augmented Reality App

Let’s face the truth. Kids these days are more interested in technology – playing games on smartphones or tablets – than activities such as coloring. This dynamic partly accounts for the massive growth in games and apps targeted specifically at children. When was the last time you heard of a startup trying to disrupt the coloring book market?

But parents can breathe a little easier now. Quiver is a nifty startup that is trying to bring the augmented reality experience to coloring. Users download and print content from the Quiver site, fill it with any colors they fancy, and then hover the Quiver app over it to watch their drawings come to life. This video sums it up nicely:

"The business didn’t start off as ’hey let’s make an AR coloring app’," explains Jessop Petroski, head of content for Quiver. "The technology was discovered in a research lab in New Zealand where they found a way to extract color from an AR marker."

Augmented reality marketplace

Quiver (previously Colar) functions basically as a marketplace for colorable AR activities. Jessop explains users can find topics they’re interested in and download relevant pages. When you scan the pages, some AR content is free, while others is based on in-app purchases. There are no requirements for what colors to use – different colors will give a different experience each time.

I tried Quiver on an iPhone 6 and it worked like a charm. Content was easy to download from their site and can be printed from any commercial printer (I used an HP Laserjet). After coloring the template, I hovered their app over the piece of paper, and it instantly came to life. I spent an enjoyable Sunday afternoon printing out various templates, coloring them, and giggling like an excited child.

The Quiver team in Tokyo

Jessop says the Quiver app has been downloaded by 1.9 million users, with month-on-month growth of about 20 percent. Their two biggest markets are South Korea and Japan which represent approximately 65 percent of the total user base. "Since the app first launched we saw the most organic growth in these two countries, which is why we opened an office in Tokyo," he explains.

While Quiver will design its own content and put it on their marketplace, it also works with companies and brands to make client-specific material. The startup counts coffee chains, education companies, and diners as some of its clients.

"One of the areas where we’re getting a lot of traction is restaurants. For example, you go to a restaurant, sit down, they give you the place mats for the kids and they want you to color. We’re doing a project with an Italian restaurant chain in the US where they’re bringing their characters to life and kids love it," says Jessop.

Quiver raised US$1.5 million in a seed funding round last year, and the New Zealand government is one of the investors. Jessop says they’re looking to expand their product suite and enhance the overall Quiver experience in the coming years. "We’re continuing to advance the concept of coloring and bringing it to life […] we’re also working on helping users with their own drawings – we’re not quite there yet but hopefully will be within the next few years," he asserts.

See: What happened when this startup wasn’t able to meet its Kickstarter commitment

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