What is BlackBored?


BlackBored is a drawing app for Android. The key idea is that multiple people can draw on the same picture at the same time, connected over a local wifi network or the internet. It was designed for the common student who needs to kill some time during a boring lecture. Instead of drawing doodles on paper and passing them around in class he can now also use BlackBored to share his artwork.

There are 16 different chalk colors. Apart from free hand drawings you can insert various shapes such as circles, stars, text or tic tac toe grids and there is even a marble tool.

Where can I find BlackBored?


You can find BlackBored on Google Play (for free of course)
Available on Google Play

If you want to also host your own remote server you can download it here.
You will need to have Java installed.


Home screen
Home screen
Drawing on the board
Drawing on the board
Drawing shapes
Drawing shapes

Questions & Answers

What does "Use public server" on the "Create" screen mean?

If you check this box, upon start of the board it will not be created locally on your own phone but a remote server will be used. The advantage of this is that also people outside of your local wifi network can join your board.

Please note that the default server is located in Switzerland and has limited capacity. There may be delays. I do not give a guarantee for availability.

I don't have a wifi network. How can I connect with other people around me?

Your phone might have a wifi hotspot app preinstalled or you can find one on Google Play. With it you can create your own wifi network and others can connect to it and thereby access your board.

How can I connect to a remote phone outside of my wifi network?

You can download the BlackBored Server Software right here, for free of course. It's a .jar file, so you need to have a Java VM installed.

When you're on the home screen and press the menu button, a dialog will appear where you can enter the hostname or IP address of your remote server. Once you have set a remote server all the public boards of that server will be listed on the "Join" screen.

Please note that the connection may be much slower over the internet than over a local wifi network. You might also have to set up port forwarding of the TCP ports 6540 and 6541 on the server's router or open those ports in the firewall (see the manual of those devices)

Why doesn't my marble tool work?

The marble tool requires the orientation sensors of your phone. If your phone doesn't have those sensors you can't use the marble tool. If you do have them but the marble isn't working like it should (e.g. it keeps rolling into a corner) you might need to calibrate your sensors. This is not possible from within BlackBored, but you can find other apps on the Market that allow you to do that.


If you have questions, comments or any other feedback you can use the contact form to send me a message.


BlackBored started as a group project for the lecture Distributed Systems at ETH Zürich in the fall semester 2011. Marcel Bertsch, Raphaël Weibel, Pascal Fischli and I developed the core of the application in 5 weeks, after which I continued the project on my own in my holidays to further improve it.

I would also like to thank Olivia Müller for the actual idea for this project and I also thank everyone who lent me their mobile phone for testing or who gave some useful feedback.

© Roland Meyer 2014 | icons by fatcow