Explains how to use Randonautica, what to watch out for, the story behind the app and the calculations of probability of you finding something scary.
What is Randonautica?
A mixture of geocaching and scavenger hunt – this is how users describe their adventures with the new Randonautica app. It has been downloaded by millions of people in the past few months.
The mobile app launched earlier this year and has started to hit the headlines of various outlets as it was collected on TikTok. It’s a lot to understand, to say the least, as some quantum coils have to get through. Hence, some explanation is needed – we certainly needed some when we first read this.
In essence, Randonautica is an app that encourages you to explore your surroundings. To do this, you will be given a random set of coordinates and asked to go out with a specific destination. This can be anything big or small, like finding something unexpected or answering something that annoys you. Once you get back from your trip, you’ll be asked to post what you stumbled upon on the game’s forum. Some people have stumbled upon creepy coincidences that helped the app gain traction.
Randonautica has also proven popular because of the Covid-19 lockdown, as it has allowed people to get more out of their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to exercise.
What is Randonautica?
Randonautica is a mobile app that uses a quantum random number generator to give you a set of coordinates for your region. The idea is to encourage you to explore your area with an idea that you want to come across. It could be something simple, like seeing something worth taking a photo of, or something more complex, like an answer to a question you’ve been thinking about.
Once you are on your way, you will be asked to provide your online information. Some people post on forums while others choose Reddit. Either way, this is a way to grow a community, and many people have shared scary coincidences.
How to use Randonautica
You can use Randonautica by downloading the app from the iOS or Google Play Store. Once that’s done upload it and you’ll need to enable GPS and specify the radius that you want to explore. You can then choose to visit watering holes.
After that you will be asked if you want to visit an attractor, a void, or an anomaly. An attractor is a point that the app believes has the highest concentration of quantum dots, while a void is the least. An anomaly is the strongest choice of these two different options.
At this point, think about what you expect from your trip. It is usually recommended to follow a specific topic. For example, if you have an artistic block you can go with creativity. Finally, hit ANU for Randonautica to give you a place to explore.
Users must give the app access to the smartphone’s location data. Then they feed them information about what they want to experience: for example, make a mysterious discovery, find the love of their life etc.
Randonautica then (supposedly) uses a random number generator to display GPS coordinates in the vicinity that can be reached on foot or by bike. And there, users should find exactly what they wanted: the love of life, something scary, something exciting, beautiful – or scary.
Know in advance: The app can usually not keep the promises. Because mostly there is nothing exciting to be found at the given destination.
But if you understand the whole thing as a game and possibly approach the whole thing with an I-will-definitely-find-something-attitude, then you may really find something – sometimes out of luck, sometimes also because you have more open eyes moves around compared to when Randonautica is not in use and you’re just moving from A to B.
Is Randonautica safe?
Randonautica is just as secure as any other application that asks for your GPS data. However, there are a few sensible tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your adventure in daylight: The idea of going to a new place may be exciting, but try to limit it to the time of day. It’s safer and prevents you from getting lost in the dark
- Go with a group of friends if you’re not sure: Randonautica doesn’t have to be a solo adventure. If you usually go out with friends, this is where you should go
- If it looks dangerous, it likely is: If you have to traverse a dangerous place to get to your destination, don’t risk it. Your safety is more important than your curiosity
- Do Not Enter: Using Randonatica is not an excuse for entering your destination, especially if it is private or commercial property – don’t do it
- Think Lockdown and Social Distancing: The advice on lockdown and social distancing changes quickly, but always remember this when you go out to make sure you are not putting yourself or others at risk
The story behind Randonautica
A little bit about the story behind the app , the concept of Randonautica originally emerged from a Reddit community of some users who basically did the same thing that the app now does automatically, namely sending each other to random locations to send them to explore.
The developers of Randonautica have come up with a little background story to make the whole thing a little more interesting / exciting – supposedly the app uses a quantum computer to detect certain “hot spots” where strange things are supposed to happen – but it takes it not too serious myself.
Apart from the fact that there are still no freely available quantum computers – even the most modern ones at Google and co are still far from being used in practice – the name of the app already says a lot about what it does: Rando nautica sends the users randomly to places in their vicinity where there is supposedly a lot ( attractor ) or very little ( void ) of some ominous “quantum energy” or whatever. Originally, the app was intended to encourage its users to get them out of their “comfort zone” and discovering something new… the “horror factor” was later added by the users themselves.
Where do all the “creepy” videos come from?
This is quite simple to explain. Basicallym the sheer number of users virtually leads to the chance that one or another place to which someone using the app is sent, sometimes finds something unusual. It received special attention in a case, where a couple of “Randonauts”, as the users of the app like to call themselves, found a suitcase with body parts in Seattle. Even if this was, of course, just a coincidence, as with all locations that the app generates, the viral video of this find led to the app’s popularity increasing enormously and many thousands more users started looking for supposedly scary places.
A calculation example for Randonautica
Randonautica has already been downloaded over a million times, and if you assume that maybe 80% don’t actually try the app afterwards, there are still 200,000 users who explore such randomly generated locations – and it is of course not surprising that they occasionally find something unusual there, after all, they are specifically looking for everything that could be interpreted as “creepy” even remotely .
If only 0.1% of these 200,000 users found something really unusual (apart from those who place / stage something themselves, simply for the clicks), then that would still be 200 cases — in which the users usually of course also record on video and publish on the Internet. And there the actually very few cases, which actually go viral, that seem to be subjectively much more, precisely because the 99.9% where absolutely nothing is found, does not get attention.
Randonautica has a Reddit presence. The developer of the app encourages users to share their experiences online, and Reddit is proving to be one of the most popular areas for that.
Hype from Tiktok and Youtube
The fact that the app with this simple idea is so popular at the moment is less due to the app itself than to Tiktok and Youtube. Because much more hyped than the actual app are the videos that can be seen about everyday adventures with Randonautica.
Some of them are well produced with interesting sound effects and filters and have several million views – which continues to fuel the hype about Randonautica.
Videos from the “Randonauting”
The users report, for example, that they found strange notes and piles of rubbish, others say that they found someone walking around alone in a field in the middle of the night while “Randonauting” at their coordinates. One user reported in tears that she had found the victim of an act of violence at her coordinates.
Which of these is fake or real is difficult to check. And it’s usually the interesting stories that spread, not the thousands of walks where nothing happens.
The Randonautica makers earn money mainly through merchandising, for example pins and T-shirts.
And there you have it, that’s Randonautica in a nutshell. Good luck out there!