Stiktu: a social app, perhaps with professional potential

Stiktu - logoThanks to a transAtlantic Twitter conversation with fellow construction technology fanatic Carol Hagen, I was alerted yesterday to a new mobile augmented reality application, Stiktu.

From the people behind augmented reality browser Layar, this has just been released on both iPhone and Android in nine European countries (US to follow, I believe), and its initial focus is fun and social – it’s about being able to share your own comments and ideas on top of objects in the real world:

With Stiktu, you can add text, images, stickers and sketches to objects around you by scanning them with your phone. Then anyone who scans that item will see your post directly on top of it, no matter where they are in the world. It works great with flat, well-lit items like posters, magazines and product packaging.

So, if someone was to scan the same poster, magazine, packaging, etc that you had previously scanned, they would be able to view your text, images or mark-up.

If you were to take this out of the social whirl, and apply this in a professional context – such as architecture, engineering, construction, property/real estate, graphic design – you could be using Stiktu as a mobile-based collaboration tool to share, for example, comments and mark-up on design drawings, photographs or marketing collateral. No need to reference a particular document or image – just scan, and if the item is recognised your feedback will be viewable by others who have scanned that same item. To speed up the process, you can also share your ideas via Facebook or Twitter.

I downloaded the app yesterday, and after some false starts (I think due to connectivity issues – and Stiktu’s customer service was on the bug issue very promptly), I successfully uploaded a scanned blog page augmented with my own ‘speech bubble’ and words. I tweeted this to Carol, but if she had also scanned the same image, she would have been able to view my mark-up too.

Stiktu reminds me a little of Woobius Eye (post), a prototype application (still “Beta”) that attracted mine and others’ attention during late 2009/early 2010. The proposition is similar: sharing online markup via mobile devices, though Stiktu lacks the real-time communication element. However, Stiktu has at least got beyond the private Beta stage, and is now out “in the wild”. I will be testing it out a bit more.

Update (12 December 2013):

We are sorry to announce that Stiktu will be shutting down soon.

Two years ago, the Layar Team introduced Stiktu as a completely new app for being social and creative with augmented reality. Since then, we have had a lot of fun working on this project, building the app from the ground up and watching our amazing community create unique and entertaining pieces of AR art. …

As of December 20th, 2013 – the 2nd anniversary of its launch – the Stiktu servers will be shut down, which means the app will cease to function. If you still want to create interesting and unique AR content, you can still do so with our web-based tool, the Layar Creator. You can use your Stiktu account information to log in.

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