Responding to sustained protests over the absence of the Union Flag above many Northern Ireland public buildings, the FlagIt app has been released in Apple and Android online stores this morning, priced £2.29.
Users of FlagIt can add a missing flag to any picture or video that contains an empty flagpole. And if they hold up their mobile device and look through it in front of a public building, the app will seamlessly insert a fluttering Union Flag.
FlagIt relies on sophisticated augmented reality algorithms and frameworks that have been licensed from researchers at Ulster University’s Future Optical Opportunities Laboratory based at its Magee campus.
An in-app purchase (€19.16) will allow the Irish tricolour flag to appear instead of the Union Flag.
Unusually, the app was build at the behest of the Office of First and deputy First Ministers. A spokesperson said:
This technological revolution could go a long way reducing community tensions and cutting policing costs of the weekend protests that continue outside Belfast City Hall while a more sustainable and permanent solution is found.
Introducing the app to Good Morning Ulster listeners earlier today, Finance minister Simon Hamilton spoke of the economic benefit and potential revenue generation of FlagIt and described the app as
turning attacks on flags into a tax on flags.