The words “spray paint,” “street art,” and “graffiti,” paint two drastically different pictures in our minds. On the one hand, we think about the vandalism and crime, and on the other, we admire the bold meanings behind this unique form of expression.

In 2014, the City of Halifax spent more than $380,000 on graffiti removal. But what if we could express our ideas and share our art with our community without physically altering expensive architecture? Our team has made this possible, with SprayZ.

What it does

SprayZ is a mobile app that allows you to spray paint on walls or floors by merely aiming and moving your phone. You can use brushes of different sizes and colours to make your imagination come to life.

How we built it

We use Unity 3D's AR capabilities to detect and create planes through a smartphone's camera. We then overlay "spray paint" on top of these planes whenever a button is pressed.

Challenges we ran into

We were initially trying to use Google's AR Core kit to detect and draw on surfaces, but this proved to be too complicated of a process in terms of testing. When we switched to Unity, it took us some time to understand how to construct planes and draw shapes on top of them appropriately. Unfortunately, despite spending a lot of time on Facebook's and Firebase's Unity API, we weren't able to crack the code on these technologies and ended up improving our base app instead.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re proud of how much we learned over this hackathon. Having no past Mobile Development experience, we were able to take an ambitious idea and make a product out of it.

What we learned

We pushed ourselves to expand our capabilities in Augmented Reality and App Development. We delved into Facebook APIs, Android Studio, AR Core, and Unity for the first time. Although we had trouble with AR Core and Facebook, we learned to think critically and prioritize the most critical functions of our project.

In these ways, we’ve truly embraced all the opportunities of learning we were faced with at Hack the North.

What's next for SprayZ

The future of SprayZ involves creating a community around art. This includes using the Facebook API and Firebase to share, track, and generate better street art.

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