Second Annual Snap Creative Challenge:

The Future of
Co-located Social AR
Snap Inc. will provide a total of $100,000 of funding (divided among all the selected teams), plus access to the new Spectacles in an effort to foster an ecosystem of AR researchers
This year's theme

Can technology foster, rather than detract from, in-person socialization?

An open challenge for human–computer interaction (HCI) researchers is to design technology that promotes and enhances in-person interactions rather than inhibits them.

Too often, people remain alone in their “digital bubbles” even when they are physically together.

We hope to discover how technology can make casual social interactions between co-located individuals more joyful, and engaging. We believe that augmented reality (AR) is well-suited for tackling this challenge because of its capacity to augment the shared physical reality among co-located individuals, including their bodies, faces, objects, and even pets.

Call for Proposals

There are the components of the proposals, you must fill out a form that will consist of these 8 items.
Ambitious vision
  • Dream big and articulate an exciting and bold vision for how AR can empower co-located people to achieve one or more of these goals: to express themselves, to live in the moment, to learn about the world, and to have fun together.
  • What opportunities does AR enable in co-located settings?
  • The more concise and specific your vision is, the better.
Concrete Outcome
  • Describe what you hope to build.
  • How is it novel and achievable?
  • What do you expect your core contribution to be?
  • Are you building a fully functioning prototype, producing a visionary design/video, deploying a system in a specific community, or something else?
Execution plan
  • Outline the steps that you will take over the 5 months of the Creative Challenge to show a concrete outcome that represents your vision.
  • The goal is to create a minimal lovable prototype (“MLP”).
  • It is okay if some steps are not completely clear at the proposal stage, but make sure to describe the process you will follow to turn big ideas into concrete outcomes.
  • If it helps, you can position this work within the context of a class or a broader research initiative.
  • Who do you plan to involve in your project and why?
  • How is your team distinct from other potential participants?
  • Describe your team’s previous experience with AR, co-located social interactions, or other research related to the topics of this challenge.
  • We expect teams to include professors’ students and collaborators.
  • Describe the disciplinary backgrounds of the people you plan to bring together and their seniority (e.g., undergrad or grad students, postdocs or staff).
  • Specify whether the team is already formed or if it will be formed as part of the challenge.
AR Technology
  • What AR technologies do you plan to use?
  • Will you be exploring visual, audio, or some other form of augmentation?
  • Are you particularly interested in a specific form factor like mobile phones, HUDs, or something else?
  • Are you interested in getting access to the new Spectacles that allow you to interact with AR experiences using Lens Studio? How many would you need and what would you want to do with them?
  • How much funding do you need, and what will you do with it? As a reference, in 2020, we divided the $100,000 of funding among 11 teams, each team receiving amounts based on their budget, ranging from about $5,000 to $15,000. In 2021 we aim to fund somewhere between five to ten teams.
  • Funding is sent to the Principal Investigator's institution as a "unconstrained gift."
  • What type of expertise or mentorship would your team benefit from?
  • How do you plan to document your process and share your progress and outcome with the world?
  • Are there examples of publications, videos, or other forms of documentation for other projects that show the type of documentation you are interested in generating as part of this work?
  • Prepare a short video (5-min max) that describes your proposal, showing any visuals or demos of previous projects.
  • The video can be similar to a CHI video submission
  • Include a link to this video in your proposal and host it on your preferred platform (e.g., YouTube, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)

Send your proposals via email to We'll share the proposal with the program committee members.

Apply (Dealine Passed) Terms and Сonditions

Teams Awarded Funding and Spectacles

7 teams from 5 different countries exploring co-located AR
BlankieChat: For co-located Parent-Child quality time in an AR world with soft knitted sensors
Ali Shokoufandeh (Faculty - Drexel University)
Denisa Qori McDonald (Grad student - Drexel University)
Erin Solovey (Faculty - Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
Genevieve Dion (Faculty - Drexel University)
Richard Vallett (Postdoc - Drexel University)
Shruti Mahajan (Grad student- Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Drexel University
Building Shared Spaces for Mindfulness with Data
Daniel Epstein (Faculty)
Dennis Wang (Grad student)
Kurt Squire (Faculty)
Lika Liu (Grad student)
Xi Lu (Grad student)
University of California, Irvine
Designing Hybrid Tangible+AR Co-located Social Experiences
Catherine Holloway (Faculty)
Dinah Lammiman (Faculty)
Nicolai Marquardt (Faculty)
Simon Julier (Faculty)
Yvonne Rogers (Faculty)
University College London
MystARy: Encouraging Social Interaction Among Strangers
Aman Parnami (Faculty)
Aneesha Lakra (Undergrad student)
Arunesh Singh (Undergrad student)
Kyzyl Monteiro (Undergrad student)
Rachit Bhayana (Undergrad student)
Indraprastha Institute of Information
Social AR in the Zoo
Brandon Syiem (Grad student)
Dr. Eduardo Velloso (Faculty)
Dr. Marcus Carter (University of Sydney - Faculty)
Dr. Sarah Webber (Faculty)
Wally Smith (Faculty)
University of Melbourne
TangiBel Soundscapes
Cathy Fan (Grad student)
Joanne Leong (Grad student)
Olivia Seow (Grad student)
Pattie Maes (Faculty)
Zach Lieberman (Mentor)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Touchable Spoken Words: Augmenting In-person Verbal Communication.
Verbal Communication by Adding Interactivity to Transcribed Spoken Words in AR
Adnan Karim (Grad student)
Neil Chulpongsatorn (Grad student)
Ryo Suzuki (Faculty)
Shivesh Jadon (Grad student)
University of Calgary
Congratulations to the teams!
Stay tuned for the final outcome of their projects in the coming months

Upon acceptance, participants will join in the following online gatherings:

  • Opening ceremony. Organizers, mentors, and participants will get together for a few hours to introduce themselves and share the details of their project.
  • Check-in with mentors. We will organize monthly check-ins between mentors and teams to give feedback and advise them with their design, research, and engineering questions. Mentors will be experts in AR and/or co-location from industry and academia.
  • Team meetups. We will organize regular meetups between a smaller group of two or three teams to connect with one another and find opportunities for collaboration.
  • Closing ceremony. Organizers, mentors, and participants will share their work outcomes, get feedback, and identify the next steps. We will record this event and share a video summary online.


May 22, 2021
Proposals due
June 30, 2021
Juy 15, 2021
Opening event
Aug 16, 2021
Final demo event
Jan 15, 2022

References and prior events

Snap Creative Challenge 2020: the Future of Storytelling with AR

Last year's event was held at ACM IMX and had 11 teams from around the world.

Learn more

IRL: Co-located Play with AR

Instead of seeing technology as a barrier to genuine connection, this project uses technology to foster in-person interactions. Project IRL reimagines the role of technology with the goal of bringing people in the same space together using mobile Augmented Reality.

Learn more

Future of Social AR Workshop at CSCW 2020

This workshop brought together industry practitioners and academic researchers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of in-person social AR: from platforms to content creation, to self-representation.

Learn more


Additional Terms and Conditions

Additional Terms and Conditions. By submitting a proposal (“Licensed Materials”), each participant (“Participant”) grants Snap Inc., including its affiliates, employees, contractors, agents, licensees, and assigns (together, “Company”), a perpetual, non-exclusive, sub-licensable, and irrevocable right to use, include, and reproduce all or any portion of the submitted proposal, as described above in, and in connection, with (i) the production, distribution, and other exploitation of the of the 2021 Snap Creative Challenge: The Future of Co-located Social AR (the “Project”) and the allied, ancillary, subsidiary and derivative rights related thereto, and (ii) the advertising, promotion, co-promotion, publicity, and merchandising of the Project, Company, and Company’s business, services and products, in each case, in any and all languages, formats, media and distribution channels now known or hereafter devised throughout the universe, including, without limitation, Company’s mobile application, Company’s website, any and all mobile application stores, and any future platforms that Company uses to market or distribute Company’s projects, products, or services. Participant irrevocably and perpetually releases Company and each of its respective officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents, and representatives (individually and collectively, “Company Entities”) from all claims and liability of any kind whatsoever, arising out of or related to, Participant’s participation in the Project, usage of the Licensed Materials, and Company’s exercise of the rights granted to Company pursuant to these Terms, including, without limitation, for any violation of any rights of privacy, publicity, defamation (including libel and slander), or any other personal or property right. Participant acknowledges and agrees that s/he will execute any additional release(s) or documentation necessary for Company to present the submitted proposal, including Participant’s name and likeness, and include such proposal in the Project. All Licensed Materials are and will remain the sole property of the Participant and will only be used by Snap as described herein. Except for the limited license grant contained in these terms and conditions, nothing contained herein will be construed to grant Snap any ownership right in the Licensed Materials.

By submitting a proposal and participating in the Project, Participant represents and warrants that s/he is a faculty member or researcher in good standing with the college or university at which s/he is currently employed or affiliated with. Participant further represents and warrants that (a) his/her performance and participation in the Project will comply with all applicable economic sanctions, export controls, and anti-boycott laws; (b) neither s/he nor the institution at which s/he is currently employed or affiliated with and under which their participation in this Project is sponsored is included on any restricted party list maintained by any relevant government authority, including the U.S. Specially Designated Nationals List and Foreign Sanctions Evaders List (“Restricted Party Lists”); (c) s/he is not owned, controlled by, or otherwise affiliated with anyone on a Restricted Party List; and (d) s/he will not do business with or provide goods or services, directly or indirectly, to anyone on the Restricted Party Lists or to any country with which trade is prohibited by any applicable sanctions. Participant acknowledges and agrees that his/her participation in the Project may immediately be terminated by Company if s/he breaches the provisions contained in this paragraph.

The Project enables Participants to share with Company content, such as scientific papers and posters, demonstration material, in any type of content, including but not limited to text, scripts, videos, digital pictures and presentations. Participant retains all intellectual property rights in, and is responsible for any such content shared with Company.

To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Company shall not be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or punitive damages, or any loss of profits or revenues, whether incurred directly or indirectly, or any loss of data / use / goodwill, or other intangible losses, resulting from (1) Participant’s participation in the Project, including use of Company’s website, the Project website, or any third party external sites or resources made available to Participant by Company; and (2) any unauthorized access, use, or alteration of Participant’s proposal, content, or information. To the fullest extent permitted by law, in no event shall the Company’s aggregate liability for all claims related to the Project exceed $1,000 USD. Company shall assume no liability whatsoever in the event that the Project or any other form of participation in the conference is cancelled, rescheduled or postponed due to circumstances out of Company’s reasonable control that render the performance of the conference or the Project impracticable, illegal or impossible. Company reserves the right to alter the content or timing, the presenters and the location/venue of any conference event and will not be liable for any costs or losses incurred as a result of the aforementioned alterations. Participants acknowledge and agree that the disclaimers and the limitations of liability set forth in these terms reflect a reasonable and fair allocation of risk between Participant and Company and that these limitations are necessary for Company to make the Project available to you on an economically feasible basis. Add Snap website terms and conditions in the footer