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Brain Training Puzzle Shows Promise for Therapy: Honolulu Star Advertiser




Feb. 02–A brightly colored game application created in Hawaii shows therapeutic potential for kids with autism and others.

Created by Maui-based artist Gabriel Mott and app developer Dave Scruton from Hawaii island, Huedoku is a game that can be played by people of any age.

Players of the game, which its creators say bridges art and science, are asked to move color tiles into what creators call “harmonic order.”

“We count your moves and your time to give you the score.”

The game is free up to a point.

“We give you 10 free puzzles and 20 free clues, then hopefully you’ll buy more” levels via in-app purchases, Mott told TheBuzz.

It is a popular business model for mobile gaming applications.

Huedoku will be available free for the iPhone and iPad on Valentine’s Day, with an Android version to follow.

Mott lives in Haiku, Maui, overlooking the famous “Jaws” surf break. His Internet access is only via mobile phone.

Being so far from any technology hub provided a set of challenges, but being surrounded by “the gorgeous colors of Maui” helped him “absorb visual harmony,” he said.

Scruton is not exactly a city-dweller, either, living about an hour’s bus ride from Hilo International Airport.

Working long distance via Skype, the pair created the app and gave attendees of TEDx Maui, a technology conference, a sneak peek in September.

Therapeutic potential includes enhanced color appreciation, but also possibly assisting people with dyslexia to gain confidence in sorting, according to the app’s publicity materials.

Contacted Friday, Mott said officials at the Maui Wisdom Center in Haiku are excited about the possible benefits for autistic children who receive services there.

“There are no conclusions right now,” Mott said of the possible benefits, but there are discussions about preparing a white paper and applying for federal grants for such studies.

Huedoku has some 100 testers and has amassed testimonials from early users including a physician.

“I’ve worked with enough patients who have experienced a heightened sense of color perception that translates to their daily life that I can confidently say playing Huedoku just 10 minutes a week can improve your color vision,” said Dr. Harris Masket of Oakland, Calif.

The Huedoku website says the game will improve a player’s ability to blend color, improve color appreciation and understanding, and “relax all of us from our addiction to instant dopamine hits off of Facebook.”

Valley Isle technologist David Fry described the app as being “a totally unique creation, addictive and fun,” in his testimonial on the Huedoku website. “It exercises a part of the brain most of us never use. I’m really impressed with the quality of the gameplay and so glad to see an awesome app coming from friends on Maui.”

Though not yet widely available, the app has a loyal following on Maui, as evidenced by a recent event called the Huedoku Olympics at the Maui Tropical Plantation attended by some 800 people.

Players sat side by side facing the audience and played the same puzzle projected on large screens behind them.

“People were screaming with excitement as I finished out one of the most challenging puzzles in 2 minutes and 33 seconds,” said Ben Holt, one-time Huedoku champion and founder of the SOURCE Maui arts festival.

“It was huedorktastically awesome,” he said.

On the Net:



Reach Erika Engle at 529-4303, or on Twitter as @erikaengle.

Gabe Mott and Dave Scruton
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Huedoku: Exemplary Color Puzzle App born in the Jungle
(Huelo: HI): Artist Gabriel Mott, from Maui, Hawaii, and App developer, Dave Scruton, from the Big Island, have submitted Huedoku to the App Store and it will be available for download in a matter of days. The revolutionary, therapeutic color puzzle app is an exciting new game that offers color mastery for the masses. Conceived in January of 2014, Huedoku, was coded in the jungles of Hawaii, over 100 miles away from the nearest technology hub of Honolulu. Huedoku will be available for iPhones and iPads with the version for Android to follow close behind.

Bridging art and science, the solution of a Huedoku puzzle is found by moving color tiles into harmonic order. It’s like placing giant pixels with your finger until glowing color interaction is restored.

Mott, who left a VP position with a public technology research company in Silicon Valley ten years ago, is the inventor and designer of Huedoku. He lives in Haiku, Maui, overlooking the famous surf location “Jaws”. His internet access is over a cell phone connection because no telephone or cable lines reach his studio home where he works.

“We’ve certainly faced some challenges being far away from any tech hub,“ says Mott, “However, in many ways, it’s worked to our advantage. I can see Haleakala from my window and hike to the ocean in 20 minutes without passing a single home. The essence of Huedoku is color relationship and what better place to absorb visual harmony than surrounded by the gorgeous colors of Maui?”

Mott’s business partner Dave Scruton, lives about an hour by bus from the Hilo airport on the Big Island. The two met at the Interactive Arts Festival, SOURCE, on Maui 5 years ago. Scruton told Mott that if he ever had an idea for an app, he could “code anything”.

In the past year, the two have only been in the same location twice. The first was at TEDxMaui who provided Huedoku a presence at their annual event in September of 2014. The response was tremendous, eliciting from attendee Barry Rivers, Founder/Director of the Maui Film Festival to say:

“Huedoku will change the way you see both color and the world.”

Mott and Scruton have collaborated from their respective homes in the jungle for the last year over Skype and telephone to create Huedoku. The app currently has over 100 testers, many of them located on Maui. The vast majority have never tested an app before.

“The side benefit of having all these local testers is that Huedoku has generated an almost cult following,” says Mott.

Recently, about 800 people gathered for the Huedoku Olympics at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Two players were given a platform to challenge each other on a beta version of the App, playing the same puzzle, while facing the audience. Two massive screens behind each player showed each move as it played out. The crowd was raucous.

“It was huedork-tastically awesome. People were screaming with excitement as I finished out one of the most challenging puzzles in 2 minutes and 33 seconds,” explains Ben Holt, the  former Huedoku champion and founder of the SOURCE Maui arts festival.

Huedoku is similar to a jigsaw puzzle, yet the solution can be discovered intuitively by looking for colors that “just look right when they fit”. When everything is in its natural place, “it glows as the color relationship is based on timeless elements of visual perception and color theory similar to that leveraged by the Impressionist art movement of the late 1800s,” says Mott.

Being located on Maui also puts Mott in close vicinity to his teacher, Dick Nelson, Maui’s resident color master with whom many of the brightest local artists have studied. Nelson studied with Josef Albers at Yale in the 1950’s, an artist and teacher who came out of the “Bauhaus” movement in Germany, and is often considered the greatest colorist of the 20th century. The color matrix on which Huedoku is based was developed by Nelson who has furthered many of Albers’ famous color lessons.

Scruton and Mott, the creators of Huedoku, have developed relationships with artists, educators, neuroscientists, and color vision experts around the world. Mott believes, however, that the app will be successful because of a grass roots local following.

“It’s about having fun,” says Mott. “We’ve had a groundswell of support from mainland friends but especially in our Maui community. People have gone absolutely nuts over Huedoku.”


Mott, a former Vice President with Jupiter Media Metrix in San Francisco, is the inventor of Huedoku and creator of the Colorbox, an interactive art piece exhibited on the Big Island and multiple time at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. He has been immersed in color education and research for the last ten years and is the author of websites showing color relationship that have had over one million visits.


What people are saying:

“Huedoku is in a class of its own, redefining how we see color”–Max Fancher, Maximize Video Production

“Huedoku will change the way you see both color and the world.”–Barry Rivers, Founder/Director of the Maui Film Festival

“Huedoku is a wonderful mind bender for your anti-Alzheimer’s diet”–Angel Hendrix, educator