Hatchlings: Celebrating a decade in 2018

Hatchlings Sheldon stands outside of the Hatchlings offices in downtown Des Moines. He's decorated for Christmas and wants Apple to review Nose Zone—the newest game from Hatchlings.

Brad Dwyer is always creating something.

It started as early as middle school when Dwyer learned the basics of computer programming, From making websites in high school for clients or a mortgage interest calculator for Charles Schwab. Dwyer even created and sold a company during his first year at Iowa State University.

“So I launched Hatchlings when I was a sophomore,” Dwyer says. “And originally I wanted to make a “Where’s Waldo” game for Facebook but that was trademarked. Easter was coming up, so why not make an Easter Egg hunt. I made it in a weekend and launched it. We had 100 the first day, 1,000 the first week and like a million users the first year.”

“Now we’re at probably 15 million total installs across all of our games.”

Ten years later, Dwyer is still creating.

The Des Moines-based Hatchlings will turn ten years old in February of 2018 and Dwyer says the team is celebrating by hosting a party in Las Vegas for its players.

“When you are making stuff you go step by step, day after day,” Dwyer, 29, says. “And we are here now in December and to look back and see the things you’ve done this year. It’s like we did all that, in a year?”

Clay & Milk caught up with Dwyer to see what Hatchlings is working on for 2018.

Nose Zone
A preview of the user interface for Nose Zone, the newest app developed by Hatchlings.

Playing with facial recognition software

Earlier this year Dwyer said the Hatchlings team dedicated a week to focus on the new iPhone facial recognition software and brainstorm potential project ideas.

Dwyer said his team came up with nearly 30 ideas to incorporate the new technology on the iPhone X front facing camera. But he wanted an idea that could be developed within a weeks time.

“The one we decided to do is ‘Nose Zone'” Dwyer said. “The idea is it is a game that is controlled by your face. It’s a simple game, the 3D scan reads my face and the idea is you have a laser attached to your nose and are trying to get it into the different targets before the timer runs out.”

Dwyer says as his team developed Nose Zone, he realized more possibilities for the facial recognition software.

“We have a lot of different game ideas that we could use for the nose-pointing sensor, but it could also be an accessibility feature so if you are a quadriplegic and can’t use your hands, use your face to control your device,” Dwyer explains. “That was an idea we had but we didn’t know how to make that something useful in the allotted time.”

Dwyer said Nose Zone has been submitted to Apple and they are waiting for it to be reviewed.

Nose Zone
Hatchlings founder Brad Dwyer demonstrates how the new “Nose Zone” app works Friday morning. Dwyer explained that users can use their nose, to point a laser into the targeted areas to get points.

The future for Magic Sudoku

Magic Sudoku—the $0.99 app Hatchlings launched in September using the iPhone X augmented reality technology—was featured by Apple as one of its augmented reality apps.

Dwyer said he was even asked to speak in Silicon Valley at an augmented reality meetup in October.

“We have ideas that we want to do but it’s taking a backseat,” Dwyer said. “You can show it a puzzle you are working on and it can show you the ones you got wrong, or give you a hint without spoiling the whole puzzle.”