Let's draw a pattern

Press Symmetry button to select a symmetry group, then choose a drawing Object. Inside the repeating unit (unit cell) delimited by two pairs of black parallel lines, you will see a blinking object which you can displace. Move the object with your finger and observe the effect of symmetry by replicating the object. The blinking object is always attached to your finger irrespective of its location. Some of the objects are available in multiple colors. Press Mode button to make the object leaving a trace. Select another object to paint it over.

left animation right
There is more than one way to draw new patterns: you may switch the modes in the Options menu:

- in Gravity mode the active object will slide down when the iPhone is inclined.

- in Shake mode shake the iPhone to produce a new pattern with three random objects replicated by pre-selected symmetry, like in kaleidoscope.

Help topics (in Mode) and blue buttons arrowin the group list will help you to learn more about symmetry elements, asymmetric units (red area) and multiplicity.

Do not forget to submit your best creations to our Web Gallery! Pressing the Share button will make you choose between sending picture to the our gallery or e-mailing it to your best friends.

  • Change symmetry - Symmetry
  • Choose new object - Object
  • Move or Draw - Mode
  • Move the object - Manually (finger) / by Gravity* / by Shake*
  • Switch movement type - Options -> Drawing mode
  • Gravity mode - Incline iPhone to make object slide
  • Shake mode - New pattern when shaking
  • Clear scene - More / Start new pattern
  • Email you pict - Share -> via Email
Ivan Orlov, Gervais Chapuis © 2010

This app helps you to discover and understand the symmetry laws of crystal structures. It simulates the symmetry environment of the 17 planar (two-dimensional) groups, which you can decorate with various objects according to your fantasy. In playing this game you will not only enjoy creating colourful designs a la Escher on your own, but also effortlessly master the main concepts of crystallographic symmetry:

Once fully cooked, the artwork could be sent to your special friends or simply submitted to our web collection. The Escher Mobile app is freely available from the App Store. Do you have 5 minutes to play crystallography today?

Reviews and articles on Escher Mobile project:
''La première application EPFL de e-learning'', article in Flash, May 2010 (PDF, 6.6 Mb, french)
I. Orlov, N. Schoeni and G. Chapuis. Crystallography on mobile phones. J. Appl. Cryst. 39, 595-597. Download reprint (PDF, 288 Kb)
Mobile Learning :: Flash EPFL (french) :: Swiss Society for Crystallography


Click on the button below. Escher Mobile is supported by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and it is free of charge.


Not on iPhone? Escher Mobile for other mobile phones is available here!

Name: Kitty
Author: Lisa
Cell: c2mm
Name: Flowers intercalated clusters
Author: Ascard
Cell: p2mg
Name: Bee world
Author: JPEagles
Cell: p6

feedbackWe are delighted to hear about your own Escher Mobile experience and suggestions for next release.
What would YOU like to see offered?

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