Developer Interview with Adrian Clark of Puteko Ltd @TheiMums
Today’s interview is with Adrian Clark of Puteko Ltd.
Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Adrian Clark, and I’m one of the Directors of Puteko Limited, and a Post Doctoral Fellow at the HIT Lab NZ. I was one of the original inventors of the colAR software, and developed the underlying technologies which make colAR work.
How did the idea for your app come about?
At the HIT Lab NZ we have been interested for a long time in how Augmented Reality (AR) can be used for educational and entertainment purposes. In particular, we had done a lot of work around MagicBooks, which are ordinary story books which, when viewed using a computer or mobile device, are enhanced with AR content.
I was in a meeting where the idea of developing a MagicBook based on a colouring book came up. I was quite sceptical about how well it would work, given one of the fundamental rules of AR is that the image you are augmenting shouldn’t change – which is the very purpose of colouring books, but decided to experiment with a few ideas and see how far I could get.
After managing to find solutions for the underlying technical challenges, I was loaded the first page and 3D model into the prototype and ran it. Even though the program still had bugs and was rough around the edges, I was surprised at how well the program functioned and how much fun it was to see the pages I’d coloured come to life in front of me.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
Since the HIT Lab NZ is a research institute, after the first prototype showed that the technology was possible we published some research papers about the technology and showed the demo at a few conferences around the world, where we gained a lot of interest and positive feedback and even won some awards.
After this everything went quiet for a while until Katy Kelly, the CEO of Puteko LTD, found out about the project. She was so excited about the idea that she wanted to try and take it out of the research area and make a product that everyone could use. From there we established Puteko LTD, applied for some funding to cover costs, and then began work on getting the project from a user-unfriendly application on computer to something even kids could use running on mobile devices. From when Katy first decided to start the company to the first release took around 2 years.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
The original prototype application was developed by me, however this was a research project and as such was not very easy to use and only ran on computer. We decided it would be faster and easier to bring on a mobile developer to take the existing prototype and get it working on mobile devices and make it easy to use than it would be for me to learn the skills necessary to do this myself.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
As the original founders of Puteko LTD were all from a research institute, we didn’t have a lot of experience with bringing a product to market. We had to learn a lot about business in general, decide what our target market should be, what path to market we were going to take, how to make an app which works for the user base, etc. It’s been challenging, but I think we’ve all learnt a lot along the way.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
The HIT Lab NZ has been very supportive, helping us launch the company and the technology as a spin-off. The University of Canterbury New Zealand, the parent University of the HIT Lab NZ, has helped with a lot of the business side of things, including funding, legal advice, and business advice. We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of people who believe in the idea and have been able to help us with whatever they can along the way.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
We hope to grow the colAR brand and create a range of products and apps utilising the core technologies. We are exploring different ways we can do this on our own, and in partnerships with other companies.
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve received along the whole process. From the very early prototypes of the technology, up to the released App, people have really loved the idea, and really enjoy using the product. We have been lucky enough to be able to test early prototypes of the app with children at primary schools, and the response we get from them is always really encouraging.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
Try and get as much advice, feedback, and information as you can from a range of people. This may be as simple as telling your idea to someone and seeing if they think it is good, to testing your prototype out on your target market, to consulting people who have had successful apps for advice on how to market your product.
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!
colAR Mix - 3D coloring book App
by Puteko Limited
Category: Entertainment, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPod Touch (3. Gen.), iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5c, iPadFourthGen, iPad WiFi, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 2 3G, iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen, iPhone5s, iPadThirdGen, iPadFourthGen4G, iPad 3G, iPhone 4, iPadMini, iPadMini4G, iPod Touch (4. Gen.), iPhone 3GS
Size: 58.95 MB