Sophomore programs SJS augmented reality app


Ethan Saadia

Sophomore Ethan Saadia designed Mav World, an augmented reality app depicting campus buildings surrounding the Great Lawn.

A slice of pepperoni pizza floats above Flores Hall as a space shuttle blasts off in the middle of the Great Lawn. House banners flutter on the side of the Science building, each a distinct color. Every building comes stamped with bright graphics: a microscope for Mewbourne, a video camera for the Campus Center, coffee for the Cafe. 

Of course, these things do not exist tangibly in our world, but can instead be seen in the augmented reality of Mav World.

Used with permission from Ethan Saadia.

Mav World is a free app that uses augmented reality technology within the School campus. Augmented reality creates an interactive experience of a real-world environment in which reality is “augmented” by computer-generated graphics. The app was developed by sophomore Ethan Saadia—also the creator of the Mav App—who has been programming since he was 8 years old.

“With Mav World, I wanted to try out augmented reality and show how useful it can be,” Saadia said. “I thought the School campus would be a great place to prototype an app for architecture and navigation, and I brought that to life with an immersive augmented reality experience.”

Mav World currently maps the Great Lawn and nearby buildings: Admissions, Flores Hall, the Maverick Cafe, the Campus Center, the Science Building and Mewbourne. The app has two options: On Campus and the Takeaway Tour.

While using the On Campus option, the user simply holds their phone above the Great Lawn marker, which is then used to triangulate their position so that graphics are properly aligned on their respective buildings. On the Takeaway Tour, the viewer can see the inside of Flores Hall and its adjacent areas through a virtual model, which contains 3D content from the architects themselves.

The project, which Saadia managed alone, took about five months to complete.

“Working on the app was almost like a full-time job,” Saadia said. “After I got home and did all my homework, I worked on Mav World exclusively.”

The product of all his programming is an accurate AR app that helps with navigating the large campus and features information about each building. With Mav World, students, or even prospective students, can tour the grounds without having to be physically present.

Although it has already been released, Saadia is still updating Mav World. He intends to add more functionality to the app by covering additional areas of campus and adding more interactive elements, so that people already familiar with the campus will be able to experience something new at school.