Draw Something With Strangers On A Train: Disrupt NY 2013 Hackathon Duo Building Visual Ice-Breaker App For Galaxy Note

The Disrupt NY 2013 Hackathon has kicked off and here’s one of the new hacker team pairings hoping to claim tomorrow’s prize after a long night of coding. Michal Shaffer, left, from New York and Peter Ma, right from San Francisco — met at the event and are now collaborating on a proximity art app that will be using Samsung’s API and the Galaxy Note plus S Pen to power random collaborative doodling.

Ma, 29, explained the idea is a different take on proximity chat apps that let you talk to strangers nearby. Instead of talking to people you don’t know — which he argues is a pretty hit and miss affair, in terms of chancing upon someone who is actually on your conversational wavelength — the team is building an app for drawing with strangers. Not one person drawing and another guessing, like Draw Something, but multiple people drawing bits of a single doodle in sequence. Like the consequences word game but for would-be artists.

Doodling with people nearby isn’t going to result in any profound conversations — but it’s likely to be a lot more fun than random chatting. And/or result in a lot of partial phalluses flying back and forth. But as Ma points out, the proximity element of the app means rude drawers run the risk of being identified and unmasked by whoever they are doodling with.

The app will give each doodler around 15 seconds to add their flourishes to the drawing until the final, inevitably monstrous creation is born — complete with devil horns, Hitler moustache, bug-eyes, lizard tail etc., etc.

The team is also looking to add a social element, so you can plug in and doodle with friends when you’re hanging out together. They haven’t come up with a name for the app yet — but the working title is along the lines of ‘doodle in a bottle’, playing on the idea of the proverbial message in a bottle.

Shaffer, 22, will be working on the backend database management. The team is using Amazon Web Services for hosting and SQL Server for the backend.