Magic Sudoku: Solving puzzles with augmented reality

Magic Sudoku Magic Sudoku lead developer Brad Dwyer demos how the mobile app works.

An express course in app development led to the development and release of Magic Sudoku, a mobile app that solves Sudoku puzzles using augmented reality.

Brad Dwyer of Des Moines-based Hatchlings released Magic Sudoku on Sept. 19. By pointing the camera at a Sudoku puzzle, the app uses Apple’s new IOS feature ARKit, “Vision” and “CoreML” to quickly analyze and fill out the blank squares.

It was something Dwyer said he started thinking about immediately after Apple announced their augmented reality features earlier this summer.

“Instead of placing something in the real world, I wanted to take something from the real world, transform it some how and place it back into the real world,” Dwyer explains. “I played around with the idea of a crossword puzzle solver, or jigsaw puzzle helper where it could look through your pieces and circle it for you.

But what I ultimately landed on was a Sudoku solver.”

Dwyer said developing Magic Sudoku was different from Hatchlings because it wasn’t a game.

“If you added it up it was 2 or 3 weeks of solid work from me to make the app, but a lot of time was spent learning,” Dwyer says. “I never have done a Swift app before or a native IOS app so I had to learn to do Swift and the new augmented reality and machine learning stuff.”

To release Magic Sudoku, Dwyer pulled ‘all nighters’ the night before its release Sept. 20 and the night after to address bug reports.

His tweet at 1:38 Wednesday morning previewed Magic Sudoku. And on Thursday version 1.1 was released.

“The big new feature was people don’t have a paper Sudoku to do, so they tried to hold it up to their computer monitor to solve it online and I did not anticipate that,” Dwyer said. “So now it works for that too. Previously it had to be set on the table.”

Since then Dwyer has seen Magic Sudoku mentioned all across the world in various languages and online publications.

“Traffic from Korea and Japan, China,” Dwyer says. “It’s cool to see people from around the world checking it out.”

You can download Magic Sudoku here. The app is $0.99 and will only for those running iOS 11 on iPhone models newer than the 6S.

Dwyer said the app works for iPad Pro as well.