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This AR app solves Sudoku puzzles using your iPhone’s camera

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Image: Magic Sudoku

Now that iOS 11 is available to download, there are plenty of new AR apps to explore, including ones that let you place Ikea furniture or add random GIFs to your surroundings. If brain games are more your thing, there’s one app that solves (or ruins) Sudoku problems when you’re stuck. Through Apple’s ARKit, the app figures out the answer to a puzzle. All a user has to do is point the camera at a printed Sudoku grid and the phone can automatically fill out the blank squares.

Called Magic Sudoku, the app takes advantage of iOS 11’s capabilities, and it’s most useful for those stumped by a particularly hard puzzle. At the moment the app solves the whole puzzle, though there’s more features to come — perhaps a hint option that solves a portion the user chooses so that the whole puzzle isn’t spoiled. It’s a more interactive way to reveal the puzzle’s answers, even if it’s relatively nascent.

At the moment, the developer behind the app says the current version is mostly a tech demo that illustrates the app’s potential capabilities. “The next version will bring a lot more features to people who play paper Sudokus,” developer Brad Dwyer tweeted. Dwyer says the app uses several neural networks, including one he trained to find and read puzzles, but actually solving each problem involves a recursive algorithm.

Some users have encountered some problems when pointing their device at a puzzle shown on a computer, but Dwyer said he’s working on a workaround as ARKit only detects horizontal orientation. The app also has some trouble recognizing fonts Dwyer didn’t train or test with, but that would be fixed in a version 1.1 update, the developer tweeted.

The app costs $0.99 and is available now.