DES MOINES, Iowa -- The ever-changing world of technology has consumers questioning what industry leaders will think of next, but Iowa State graduate Brad Dwyer is already thinking futuristically.
“The opportunities to enhance reality are kind of endless, and I think it’s going to be a really cool next decade,” says Dwyer.
The 29-year-old is bringing Silicon Valley to the Silicon Prairie, in his tiny office in downtown Des Moines. He’s the founder and CEO of Hatchlings Inc, a company he started while still in college. Dwyer already has a number of successful smartphone apps under his belt, but his latest creation is his most unique and high-tech to date.
“We went from using our 10 fingers to type on the keyboard to just using two thumbs on the phone, so we lost a lot of expressiveness in the process.”
His new app called Nose Zone features augmented reality, otherwise known as AR, technology. The app lets users play the game hands-free and requires only facial movement to play, thanks to the iPhone X’s built-in facial scanner.
“It reads the direction of your face, and then it attaches a ball that is in the direction of your nose. You are trying to move the ball around so that you can hit different targets on the game," says Dwyer.
The concept of augmented reality isn’t new. Millions of cellphone gamers caught on to the trend while playing the popular Pokémon Go app. The technology allows gamers to view the real world through their phones with computer graphics being placed into the game's real life setting.
While the gaming technology is cool, Dywer says AR technology is bigger than gaming. He predicts augmented reality will be life-changing in just a few years.
“If you are a paralyzed person, you could control your phone by just looking around and moving a cursor on it with your face. You could have a social media app. Instead of clicking the like button or the love button, it would just scan the expression of your face,” he smiled.
Tech giants like Apple and Google are already pouring money into efforts to expand augmented reality for devices like smart glasses. Right now, Boeing is testing the technology on its factory floors. As for Nose Zone, it has been downloaded 10,000 times. Dwyer says it’s just the start of something that could change the way people use cell phones and live their lives.
"There’s kind of this wide open field where anybody could win, so we're competing against people who don't know any more than we do because everyone is just trying to find things out."
The game is only available to be downloaded on the iPhone X due to its facial recognition technology.