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DoodleLens

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
DoodleLens App Poster Image
Clunky controls but super cool animator for kids into AR.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to use technology to create drawings and animations. In doing so, they'll express themselves creatively and learn about using tech tools. They may also learn a bit about the process of hand-drawn animation.  

Ease of Play

It can take a lot of practice to learn how to use the app's features. In-app tutorials are of limited help.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that DoodleLens allows kids to place hand-drawn doodles in augmented reality (AR) scenes and create unique scenes or animations. The process involves a combination of drawing on paper and using a device to make it seem as though your drawings have come to life and are actually in the room with you. Parents will need to allow the app to access their device's camera, microphone, and camera roll to use all features of the app. Kids will have to move around as they look through their device's camera; make sure that they can do so safely without harming themselves or the device. There are multiple options to share finished doodles including through the developer's fan page, Instagram, and your device's internal sharing options. Because the doodles are pasted into the "real world," parents might want to monitor what they're kids are capturing in their recorded doodle scenes before allowing them to share. There are a few tutorials but they offer limited help; younger kids will likely need a lot of guidance. Periodically, a pop-up menu asks users to rate and send a review to the app store. DoodleLens doesn't work with older devices; check the list to see if yours is compatible. At the time of this review, DoodleLens froze and quit multiple times. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Allow access to your device's camera and microphone to be able to use DOODLELENS. Then, position the camera lens over a line drawing and tap capture. Tap and hold capture to line up a series of drawings and create a mini animation. Scan around your surroundings to find where you want to place your drawing and tap paste when you've found the right spot. When you scan your device over that area, the doodle will now appear on the screen. From there you can do some minor edits to the doodle like flip, add color, or resize. Tap the camera icon to record your doodle and share it through the sharing options.

Is it any good?

Some kids will think it's super cool to paste drawings in their real life surroundings, while others will be turned off by the not-so-intuitive user interface. The realm of augmented reality is still pretty new, and DoodleLens offers an interesting way to use this new technology. However, it still seems like there's a long way to go. DoodleLens itself suffers from some technical problems every once in a while. The camera doesn't always pick up your line drawings very well, and sometimes it picks up unnecessary noise. A few extra features (like an undo button) would be nice. It's also not all that easy to learn how to use, and the tutorials don't offer much help; kids will need a good amount of practice to figure out how it all works. The kids who don't see the point of looking through a screen to see their drawings "appear" in real life won't have the patience to get through the trial and error. The kids who are into it will pick it up easily enough and will likely have fun with DoodleLens. Parents should watch out for their kids sharing their doodles since the augmented reality part means that videos show kids' actual surroundings. And, by using DoodleLens, it means that kids are interacting with their surroundings, but through a screen. It's up to each family to decide if it's better to just interact with your actual surroundings without the screen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the drawing kids create with DoodleLens. Encourage your kids to tell stories with what they create.

  • Is the augmented reality format appealing? Why or why not?

  • Talk to your kids about how to safely share what they made.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Arts: drawing
  • Skills: Creativity: making new creations
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Price: Paid
  • Pricing structure: Paid ($2.79)
  • Release date: July 25, 2019
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Size: 111.20 MB
  • Publisher: Kevaid
  • Version: 1.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.0 or later; Android 7.0 and up
  • Last updated: November 05, 2019

For kids who love art and augmented reality

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