Having created the humorous and award-winning virtual reality (VR) title Virtual Virtual Reality for Google Daydream in 2017 – porting it to more headsets this year – developer Tender Claws set its sights on a project using augmented reality (AR). Called Tendar, the AR experience has now arrived, specifically for Android compatible devices.
Tendar isn’t your average AR title like Ghostbusters World or The Walking Dead: Our World. Using Google’s ARCore technology, the team wanted to address themes around biometric data, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and social interaction in the digital age.
“Our goal for this project was to apply long-form interactive storytelling to the emerging field of augmented reality, specifically for mobile so that the experience is easily accessible and encourages social interaction,” said Samantha Gorman, Co-Founder of Tender Claws in a statement. “By using the very mobile devices that we’re all so attached to, but infused with parody and hyperbole, the experience helps us examine how we relate to others through our devices and current topics in computer vision as it becomes more sophisticated and pervasive. We’re thrilled to be launching Tendar on the Google Play Store and are eager for players to delve deep into this curious AI world!”
The AR experience revolves around emotions and facial expressions, with players tasked with training one of Tendar’s unique AI “Guppies” to identify human emotions. Players must bring the Guppy out of its virtual fishbowl and into their physical surroundings via AR, and feed Guppy with “emotion flakes” – achieved by showing it a well-balanced diet of varying facial expressions. Guppy can also recognize and respond to over 200 objects, building up knowledge as it interacts more and more with the physical world.
Players will be able to see Gubby evolve over time starting as a non-verbal AI and soon developing its own unique personality as it encounters more people, expressions, and objects.