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The AI doodle game you can play on your smartphone

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Posted July 19, 2019

What is NeuralDraw

NeuralDraw is an AI game built by Halcyon Mobile, a premium design and development agency. While inspired and based on Google’s Quick,Draw! dataset, NeuralDraw works as a standalone game, available for free in the App Store. The game prompts you with various 30-second doodling challenges, from objects to animals or food, and the artificial intelligence algorithm in the app guesses what your prompt was. The faster you draw, and the more challenges you complete in a streak, the more points you get.

Image credit: Halcyon Mobile

The AI algorithm built for NeuralDraw

For NeuralDraw to work, the game needed an algorithm that was ‘smart’ enough to be able to tell what you’re doodling, but also quick enough in responding so it didn’t ruin the gameplay.

To make things simpler, the developers decided to switch from the recurrent neural network the Quick, Draw! team used, to an on-device convolutional neural network specific for mobiles. They’re different approaches which got the same job done, but the latter was better suited for our project needs.

One thing that was lost through the switch of neural networks was the possibility to analyse the sequence of points – the order in which you drew the different lines of a doodle. We found that the algorithm was just as good at guessing the doodle from the completed image, as from the mix of the sequence of points and completed image.

After a few iterations, the AI algorithm ended up just 400kB in size. The model does inference between 14 to 23ms, depending on the type of device. For an iPhone 6 or above, it works in real-time. Keeping the algorithm on-device gave it a faster processing speed compared to running it on the cloud. The algorithm also ensures smoother scaling if more people ended up downloading and playing the game.

Who are the people behind NeuralDraw

Halcyon Mobile is a full-service design and development agency that created Dollarbird and MimeChat. They’re also building mobile products for bold brands such as LEGO, Red Bull Media House, AirStar or Subvrsive.

Their work brought them Webby Awards, mFWA awards and a Google Play Editor’s Choice app, as well as media features in TechCrunch, Mashable, TheNextWeb, Re/code, Lifehacker, Huffington Post and The Guardian.

Image credit: Halcyon Mobile

Quotes:

“All in all, Neural Draw was a great AI-product design and implementation exercise for the team. We proved that you could take cutting edge AI and combine it with mature mobile technology to create an enjoyable mobile experience.”

Levente Szabo – Halcyon Mobile Co-founder, Halcyon Labs Lead

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