Artcodes goes to MozFest 2016

28th to 30th October, Ravensbourne, London

Artcodes is going to be showcasing our brand new wallpaper as well as getting you to interact with our Stalker wall illustration. You will also be able to be the first people to build your own Christmas with Artcodes advent calendar. With three events across the venue we are excited to showcase it all to you.

We are running our Stalker illustration and advent calendar workshop with the Tale of Two cities zone and our wallpaper is being held with the MozEx across the site.


_MG_9400 (1)The underlying sci-fy story is one of rebellion by the Stalkers against their oppressors. Opening elements of the narrative position the experience as a call to arms and the illustration as an “inter-dimensional communication device”. The associated digital experience takes the form of a game comprising a series of missions that require interaction with not only the illustration but also nearby people and places. Download the Storicodes app (AppStore, Google Play) and come and give it a go, see if you can crack the code to open the safe!

View on the MozFest schedule: Saturday 11:15am-2:45pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm, Sunday 11:00am-2:30pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm


wp-wallpaper-mock2Liz Jeal and Lilli Cowley-Wood were commissioned to produce a wallpaper using our newest developments with Artcodes, colour filtering and angle recognition, enabling those stood at different angles to each other to gain different information. Various uses for the wallpaper have been discussed such as audio story-telling in a child’s bedroom to seasonal information about the British wildlife in your back garden and how you can help support and conserve it. We want you to come and explore these developments and help suggest ways in which it can be implemented.

Check out his and other works in the MozEx publication.

View on the MozFest schedule: Saturday 10am-1.30pm, 1pm-4.30pm, Sunday 11am-2.30pm, 1pm-4.30pm

Christmas with Artcodes

culgojrwcaamku6A fun customisable, interactive advent calendar to use with the Christmas with Artcodes app. We would like to invite you to be the first in creating your very own interactive calendar in our one hour workshop session, where we will help you adapt and personalise your calendar to take home with you.
The calendar comes with 24 Artcode stickers you can put under any doors. When these stickers are scanned by the Christmas with Artcodes app on a smart phone or tablet they open a digital surprise.
Learn how to draw your own Artcodes and how to connect your Artcodes to your own pictures, videos or music. A fun way of creating your own interactive art!

Click to here to view on the MozFest schedule (Sunday 11:00am-12:00pm) >>

Show and Tell at Tate Britain

Taylor Digital Studio, Tate Britain, London
10th October 2016

This Show & Tell will connect and focus on MozEx, a digital art exhibition co-curated by digital learning teams at Tate and V&A, collaborating with the Mozilla Foundation for the Mozilla Festival 2016 (Ravensbourne, London, 28th-30th of October 2016).

The exhibit explores links between art, society, and the digital world. Explore the value of art to society through web literacy, digital inclusion and accessibility, privacy, policy, and hacking. Artists, designers, creative technologists, makers, coders, scientists, visual journalists – from techies to newbies! – join the conversation that relates to our lives online.

Artcodes will be presenting the interactive wallpaper at Show & Tell with a short presentation on how collaborations between designers and computer scientists has resulted in beautiful interaction, putting human back into computer human interaction.

Read more:

Artcodes and BBC R&D at Edinburgh Festival

Artcodes have joined with the BBC at the Edinburgh Festival for one afternoon. On Monday 8th August the team will be in the Blue Tent with the BBC, where festival-goers will be able to create interactive t-shirts.

Using Artcdodes as a platform, festival-goers will be invited to create a design on a t-shirt that represents something about their experience at Edinburgh so far. They will then be given the opportunity to create a photo capturing a moment at Edinburgh, and be enabled to associate it with their design. Embedding and preserving the moment in the design on the t-shirt.

This is part of a series of workshops and public engagement events that have been planned to understand social and cultural associations between objects and media, and contexts & relationships in which they sit. To inform wider work around gifting practices. Insights will inform future scenarios and the development of prototypes in the lead up to a public stall showcasing new forms of hybrid gifts.


Image: Van Es

Give a Voice to the Portraits with Horizon Artcodes technology

Following two successful exhibitions in Manchester and London, “Uncovering the Invisible” will be on display at Nottingham’s Lakeside Wallner Gallery, Mon 25 Jul – Sun 11 Sep (

“Uncovering the Invisible” is a photographic collaboration between British-Mexican photographers Pablo and Roxana Allison focusing on the diversity of backgrounds and life stories of Latin-American people living in the UK. While Latin Americans contribute economically and culturally to the shaping of British society, they remain unrecognised as an ethnic minority in law. The photographic project aims to shed light on this multi-ethnic group and to support and progress official recognition of this community.

Artcodes will enable you to not only meet members of the Latin American community through this series of striking portraits but also hear them tell their stories. For this exhibition, bespoke Artcodes were designed taking inspiration from the outline of the countries of the people portrayed. By scanning the Artcodes next to these portraits you will be given access to hidden content and listen to their stories for yourself.

Image: Image of Fernando Abadie by Pablo and Roxana Allison

Add Artcodes to your app!

The Artcodes app on the AppStore and Google Play allows you to scan Artcodes and create end-to-end augmented reality experiences. If you need more features or customisation you can add Artcodes to your app by using a library/dependancy or by downloading the code.


The Horizon Artcodes applications and libraries are publicly distributed under version 3 of the Affero General Public License. If you obtained this code under that license, then all its terms are applicable.

The same applications and libraries are also available under alternative license terms negotiated with the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute at the University of Nottingham. Contact for more details.



Cordova is a cross platform development tool that allows you to create mobile apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The Artcodes Cordova plugin only supports iOS and Android.

To install the plugin:

$ cordova plugin add --variable IOS_CAMERA_DESC_STRING="We use the camera to scan Artcodes." --save

To use:

function yourFunction() {
			name: "Scan screen title", 
			actions: [
				{ codes: ["1:1:3:3:4"] }, 
				{ codes: ["1:1:2:4:4"] }
		function (code) { alert(code); }

// like most plugins, Artcodes.scan(...) can only be called sometime after the deviceready event e.g.
document.addEventListener('deviceready', function () {
}, false);


Follow these steps to add Artcodes to your Android app. You can also see an example app on GitHub:

Step 1: Add Artcodes to your build.gradle dependencies.

compile ''

Step 2: Create an Artcode experience object to pass to the Artcodes scanner.



Experience experience = new Experience();
String[] codes = {"1:1:1:1:2", "1:1:2:4:4"};
for (String code : codes)
  Action action = new Action();

Step 3: Start the Artcodes scanner activity.

import android.content.Intent;


private final int ARTCODE_REQUEST = 12345; // Range: 0-65535


Intent intent = new Intent(getApplicationContext(), ScannerActivity.class);

// Put experience in intent
Gson gson = new GsonBuilder().create();
intent.putExtra("experience", gson.toJson(experience));

startActivityForResult(intent, ARTCODE_REQUEST);

Step 4: Handle the response, implement onActivityResult:

protected void onActivityResult(int requestCode, int resultCode, Intent data)
  if (requestCode == ARTCODE_REQUEST)
    if (resultCode == RESULT_OK)
      // This is where you will receive a response from the
      // Artcode scanner if an Artcode was found
      // Do any logic based on the result here

      // This is the code of the Artcode that was found (e.g. "1:1:1:1:2")
      String code = data.getStringExtra("marker");

Note: To access the camera this library will add the “Hardware controls: take pictures and video” permission to your app.

Code on GitHub

The Artcodes app is open source and available on GitHub (version 3 of the Affero General Public License applies):

How to use Artcodes (including experiences)

This guide show you how to use the Artcodes with the iPhone and Android apps.

Getting Started


  1. If you haven’t already download and open the Artcodes app.
    The first time you open the Artcodes app you will see a brief tutorial screen (not shown) after you’ll see the “Recommended” screen. This lists recently used, nearby and popular experiences.
  2. Select the “Artcodes” experience from the list. ▶︎
    This will show you the experience’s details.
  3. Tap the camera button to go to the scanning screen. ▶︎
  4. Centre the penguins (below) in the camera image. ▶︎
    You can also use the butterfly you drew in the how to draw an Artcode tutorial.

  5. When the link at the bottom appears tap on it. ▶︎
  6. Congratulations you scanned your first Artcode!


The Artcodes app uses “experiences”. These are mappings from codes to content. You can think of them as lenses, looking through one lens you might see one thing and looking through a second lens another thing. For example on the right the blue lens/experience links to the Artcodes website but the red lens/experience links the same Artcodes to Wikipedia. In the Artcodes app you can use public experiences & those shared with you as well as create & share your own.

Creating an Experience


  1. From the start screen tap the menu button. ▶︎
  2. Tap “Login” and login with your Google account. ▶︎
    If you have already done this your username will appear, tap on that instead.
  3. This screen lists all the experiences you have created. Tap the add new (+) button in the bottom right corner to create a new experience. ▶︎
  4. Give your experience a name, you can also add a description and image. Tap the next button in the bottom right or swipe right to left. ▶︎
  5. On this screen (with a big padlock) you would set availability but we’ll leave it private for now. Tap the next button in the bottom right or swipe right to left. ▶︎
  6. On this screen (with a big warning triangle) we enter the details of the markers we want to create, tap the add new (+) button to add one. ▶︎
  7. Enter a name, website address and code (say 1:1:1:1:2) then tap the checkmark icon. ▶︎
    The name appears as a link to the website you enter when the Artcode is scanned. You could enter the penguins above, they have have code 1:1:2:3:5.
  8. You can repeat the last 2 steps to add more codes, then tap “SAVE”.
  9. That’s it! Now let’s use our experience, tap the camera button and centre the Artcode(s) you setup in the camera image. ▶︎

Sharing an Experience

The app allows you to share experience you have created with specific people or with everyone using the app.

To share your experience with specific people:

  1. Go to your experience.
  2. Tap “Share”.
  3. You can share experiences by Facebook, e-mail, text message, etc.

To share your experience with everyone:

  1. Go to your experience.
  2. Tap “Edit”.
  3. Tap “Availability” at the top.
  4. Tap the add new (+) button in the bottom right corner.
  5. You can limit availability by date and suggest a location. If you don’t enter a date it will always be available. Tap the checkmark icon when you’re done or the bin icon to delete this date and/or location.
    Repeat the last 2 steps to add multiple locations or time ranges.
  6. Tap “Save” when you’re done.

By adding a date or location your experience may be found by anyone using the Artcodes app:

  • When users are around the location you set your experience will be suggested to them under “Nearby”.
  • Your experience will also appear in search results.
  • If you leave location set to “Anywhere” your experience will only appear in search results and not under “Nearby”.
  • If your experience is used a lot it may appear under “Popular”.


Q: The experience I create just disappeared?
A: It’s still there! Sometimes the list of experiences doesn’t update try closing and reopening the app. (iOS: double press the home button and swipe the Artcodes app off the screen then reopen the app, Android: go to the app switcher and swipe the Artcodes app off the screen then reopen the app)

Q: My experience didn’t update when I edited it?
A: Sometimes the update doesn’t appear but has been saved, try closing and reopening the app. (iOS: double press the home button and swipe the Artcodes app off the screen then reopen the app, Android: go to the app switcher and swipe the Artcodes app off the screen then reopen the app)

Artcodes at Art.CHI

Artcodes have worked and contributed to Art.CHI at this years CHI 2016 conference. Art.CHI are running a workshop on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May in San Jose, California.

As part of this, Art.CHI have produced a catalogue to accompany the Art exhibition at the SIGCHI Conference, CHI2016. This catalogue documents the work shown in the exhibition “Inter/Action: digital art that responds” along with some important historical interactive art.

We have produced an Artcode for the cover on the Art.CHI 2016 catalogue which showcases the ability to add digital media into an aesthetic piece without disregard to the design. The catalogues Artcode once scanned using the Artcodes app will take participants directly to the exhibitions website for further information.

artCHI2016 cover

Artcode Events in May & June

Works based on Artcodes will be presented at four events in May & June:

7-12 May: ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016)

CHI conference attendees can see the presentation of the paper “Accountable Artefacts: The Case of the Carolan Guitar” in the Physical and Digital Collections paper session in room LL21C at 16:30-17:50 Monday 9 May. The Carolan Guitar will also be part of the “Interactivity Exhibits”, booth 42.

4-8 June: ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2016)

21-24 June: Interaction Design for Children

24th June: CREATe Festival

Artcodes @ Central St. Martins Research fortnight

csm1Artcodes have contributed a variety of activities to Central Saint Martins Research Fortnight, which took place in the Central Saint Martins building in Kings Cross.

From 14th to 16th March, we exhibited interactive artefacts in the main hall, and taught passers-by to draw on their own Artcodes. The primary audience was staff, students and visitors; CSM teaches a wide range of creative courses in which Artcodes might be used, including Ceramic design, Communication design, Graphics, Photography, Performance and Fashion.

In teaching attendees how to use our technology, we hope that some might choose to use it in future projects and explore a variety of further media and material.

csm2To illustrate the broad range of possibilities that exist with a flexible topological marker technology such as Artcodes, we brought along artefacts produced in a variety of media, all of which embedded scannable patterns with a broad range of aesthetics and purposes.

These included coasters, ceramic bowls, a hand-crafted guitar, some large public illustrations and a display composed of individual ceramic tiles. Some of these embedded into individual artcodes, others embedded multiple codes; all had been produced for a specific purpose during prior work by the project.

csm3As part of the research fortnight, members of the Artcodes team also gave talks and lead discussions. Professor Steve Benford talked about the Internet of Things, illustrated by the Carolan Guitar, whilst Professor Tony Quinn talked about designs role in the internet of things. These were attended by those involved in research across University of the Arts and leading practitioners and designers in the internet of things.

csm4 csm5 csm6