Picture a break-dancing teddy bear or a bloom of multi-coloured jellyfish seemingly floating off a page into your cupped hand, and you’ve got an idea what Nils Reardon and the rest of the team at QuiverVision do for a living.
Seeing Nils coax a coloured-in page to life by way of the magical ‘Quiver’ app – while wife Anya captures the process on a smartphone – is like watching a magician conjure up the impossible.
That’s exactly what happened at Nils’ and Anya’s home in Stewart Street last week just before the couple headed off to Tokyo, Japan, which is one of QuiverVision’s biggest markets along with South Korea and the United States.
Nils is CEO of the software development company and Quiver is its premier app, bringing specially designed colouring pages to life in full animated 3D using smart devices. Quiver has been available for a while, he explains, but “in response to popular demand we have also just released our second app called Quiver Education”.
It is promotion of this new app – along with the task of raising further venture capital for the company – that has prompted the couple’s three-week business trip which will also take in Malaysia, Singapore, the US, the UK, Europe and maybe Delhi in India.
Nils admits he and Anya feel “very spoilt” to get to see the world while they work. It’s an “amazing” career opportunity, says the 29-year-old former solicitor with Tompkins Wake in Hamilton.
The pair changed tack only this year to become part of Quiver, a small New Zealand-based business and innovation team working at the forefront of augmented reality (AR) thanks to groundbreaking technologies being developed at the Human Interface Technology (HIT) lab of Canterbury University.
If by some remote chance things don’t work out for them, an unconcerned Nils says, they’ll just go back to their former jobs as lawyers, having graduated from Waikato University with double degrees which both include law.
“We’ve left the safety net for a little while,” Nils adds lightly of their new venture. But it’s clear he has little doubt the bold career move will work out for them: he’s quietly confident of Quiver’s future, and reckons if he had $1 million he’d invest in it in a heartbeat.
Augmented reality is at the cutting edge of technology, Nils points out, and the world’s biggest companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Sony and Intel have all made “substantial” investments in what is now a billion-dollar global market and which was forecast recently to be worth US $120 billion by 2020.
Nils credits QuiverVision’s Dr Adrian Clark and Dr Julian Looser for their ongoing research and innovation at the HIT lab which has seen this small Kiwi company work with some of the world’s leading brands and companies including Dreamworks, Starbucks, Ralph Lauren and the BBC. “They truly are world leaders in their field and are essentially what will keep us ahead of the chasing pack!”
Nils’ part in heading up QuiverVision means he’s often dealing with clients and investors from right here in Raglan, where he and Anya have been settled for three months after a year of hectic travel.
“What better place?” Nils says of the town he lived in for a year as a child, and which he has enjoyed visiting regularly while at school and university in Hamilton.
Nils describes the Quiver 3D colouring app – upgraded and rebranded this year from the popular ‘colAR Mix’ app released in 2013 – as essentially “a kid thing”. Not that adults don’t enjoy it too, he adds, but Quiver’s work is primarily in what he calls children’s “edutainment”.
The app’s designed to bring colouring-in to life and enhances traditional learning methods by enabling manipulation of models, for example of a 3D biological cell if science is the subject.
The technology Quiver has developed is “mind-blowing stuff,” Nils enthuses. “The whole world’s moved to digital, and this technology enables anything to be digitalised.”
It’s as simple as downloading the apps which have a library of colouring pages, printing them, colouring them in, playing with and learning from them. Most pages have an interactive component which sees fireworks explode, balls booted, water squirted from fire hoses and so on.
And there are options while playing such as taking a photo, recording a video or changing the size of characters – in essence, kids creating their own vision of the world.
“You wish you could’ve had this stuff as a child yourself,” says Nils as he manipulates the underwater world of the jellyfish for the benefit of the Chronicle.
Go to www.quivervision.com for 3D augmented reality.