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Snap Creative Challenge Invites Universities to Reimagine AR Storytelling

August 10, 2020

What will storytelling look like in a world where AR is more prevalent?

Snap Research organized a virtual Creative Challenge at ACM IMX, an academic conference focused on interactive media and television, to explore that exact question. 

 “The printing press, radio, and television each brought in a new wave of storytelling. We’re just starting to see the new genres coming up with AR,” said Seattle-based Principal Research Scientist Andrés Monroy-Hernández.

Over the course of four months, Snap Research and their collaborators Mar Gonzalez Franco from Microsoft Research and Vinoba Vinayagamoorthy from the BBC R&D, mentored a select group of 11 university teams from eight countries — challenging fellow researchers to reimagine AR storytelling. 

“Our goal was for every AR project to reflect a core part of Snap’s mission: having fun and living in the moment together,” said Senior Research Scientist Rajan Vaish. 

What resulted were new use cases of AR storytelling — from creating an interactive AR garden for hospital patients to retelling an 11th-century Indian story in a shared AR space. 

“Especially in a time of quarantine, there’s a growing interest in how AR can provide an outlet for creative expression,” said Andrés. 


Full list of participating institutions and their projects:

  • IDC Herzliya: Storytelling with AR and Internet of Things devices

  • University College London: Narrative-driven AR companions for children at hospitals

  • IIIT Delhi: Translating traditional Indian street storytelling to AR 

  • University of Porto: Exploring physical doors as trigger for stories in AR

  • ENTI-Universitat de Barcelona: Using shadows as triggers in narrative-based AR and puzzle games

  • Dalhousie University: Tool for storytellers to turn indoor locations into AR triggers

  • Virginia Tech: Exploring first-person stories across AR, desktop, mobile

  • Carnegie Mellon University:  Converting existing game into immersive AR experiences

  • Tec de Monterrey: Turning sci-fi novels into bite-sized AR games and puzzles to promote reading 

  • ArtCenter: AI and humans partnering to tell spatial stories in AR

  • UCSB: New designs paradigms for creating and consuming AR stories