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Google created a bot that turns your rough doodles into better drawings

AutoDraw is Google’s latest AI experiment

Google’s AI bot draws from a set of preprogrammed drawings that you can select while you’re doodling.
Images via AutoDraw, GIF by author

This week, we were blessed with AutoDraw. Google’s latest artificial intelligence experiment is an automated drawing bot that takes your doodles and replaces them with better ones. Google calls it “a drawing tool for the rest of us.” A way for anyone, on any device, to create simple drawings quickly.

As you draw, the suggestion tool analyzes your doodle and guesses the end goal. Continuously working off a set of thousands of data points, the bot searches its bank of drawings to find the closest approximation.Though it’s certainly not perfect—our friends at The Verge were granted a boomerang when they tried to draw a taco—it’s well-designed and thoughtful.

Google collaborated with a handful of illustrators and designers to create sets of pre-programmed drawings for the suggestion tool. The designers at HAWRAF were among the Google collaborators for this project. Given carte blanche, they created a range of abodes from an A-frame house to an igloo.

“If someone asks you to draw a house, you draw that rectangle with a triangle on top, a rectangle for a door and square window,” says Andrew Herzog, a partner at the design studio. “That’s not the kind of house that everyone lives in.”

Pulling from their travels and research, HAWRAF illustrated a small bank of houses from around the world: a brownstone, a houseboat, a shotgun home, and a stilt house, among others.

Herzog saw this project as an opportunity to represent a range of lifestyles. “I think that technology can be most interesting when it can offer subtle ways of teaching people about the world around them.”

And the more that people contribute, the better the AI will be. Google is also open to submissions.