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LB Augmented Reality (AR) Challenge

LB AR Challenge Logo


In Spring 2021, the City of Long Beach invited members of the public to apply for the LB Augmented Reality (AR) Challenge, where they were asked to imagine and create AR experiences on Facebook and Instagram that highlight Long Beach's historic past, diverse present, or limitless future.

Innovators, thinkers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and solution makers of all skill levels were asked to rise to the Long Beach AR Challenge. Individuals and teams were given the opportunity to create immersive AR experiences Downtown Long Beach, receive technical mentorship support, and unveil their solutions to the public.

+Read the final AR Challenge & Exhibition Report


Challenge teams showcased their final AR apps at the first ever Long Beach AR Exhibition on August 8, 2021, with teams competing for cash prizes totalling $14,000 in several categories. The event was held outdoors in Downtown Long Beach.

Challenge Criteria / Rules

  • Challenge Statement: Applications must answer the following question in their submission. While we are interested in seeing all AR products, preference will be given to those solutions for our problem statements.
    • AR provides us with an opportunity to share our unique visions of Long Beach with each other. How might we use AR to activate Downtown Long Beach and connect users to our historic past, diverse present, or emergent future?
  • Demonstration Sites: Participants were provided with one of the following types of outdoor physical demonstration sites to feature their final AR product: Building facade, building facade with a mural, building glass display, sidewalk, public plaza. The site map, including eligible potential locations, can be found here. (Please note you are not limited to only these locations.)
  • Technical Specifications: Solutions must use Facebook's Spark AR platform.
  • For More Information: Please contact Ryan Kurtzman, Smart Cities Program Manager.
  • Rules & Regulations: The full Challenge rules can be found here
  • Webinars: View a recording of our two informational webinars: #1 - April 12#2 - April 28

To Apply

The Long Beach AR Challenge is open to individuals and firms of all skill levels! Anyone who has an innovative idea, product, or solution involving AR should apply. 

The application period has now closed. 


Challenge Details / FAQs

  • What is the time commitment?

    Selected teams must participate in all events below and project meetings to qualify for the prize. 
    • May - July: Project sprint, including a weekly check-in with your Challenge program manager and mentorship team.
    • Aug: Community exhibition event and prize ceremony in Downtown Long Beach.


  • What makes for a strong application?

    The evaluation team will score your application based on the following criteria:
    • Innovation: Does your proposed idea meet the given challenge statement? Does it show potential to re-activate Downtown Long Beach and connect users to the local community?
    • Feasibility: Does your proposal exhibit the potential to be a viable prototype in the given time frame? Have you identified any gaps in resources? 
    • Qualifications: Do you or your team have well rounded skills to succeed? Do you have a savvy plan in place for implementation? 


  • Why should I apply?

    Challenge participants will be provided with the following to help them through the AR development process: 
    • A physical outdoor public space in Downtown Long Beach to test and deploy your immersive AR soution
    • Technical mentorship and support, provided by the CSULB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ARLB, and resources from Facebook Reality Labs
    • An opportunity to compete for a share of $14,000 in prize money in an interactive exhibition event in Fall 2021. 
    • An opportunity to showcase your final solution to the team from Facebook Reality Labs.


  • Can I propose another AR technology/platform as long as Spark AR is used?

    Yes, however submissions must incorporate Spark AR as the primary experience application for users.

  • Are you looking for the AR experience to be just photo based or video?

    Yes, however submissions must incorporate Spark AR as the primary experience application for users.

  • Can I submit more than one proposal?

    Yes, but we ask that you serve as the Team lead for just one AR experience.

  • Will I be eligible for more than one prize?

    Yes, one Team or submission may win more than one prize. For example, an AR experience could win ‘Audience Favorite’ as well as ‘Best Use of a World Object.’

  • How will AR triggers be handled at the Exhibition event?

    The project team will deploy image recognition capabilities on site (i.e. QR codes) so members of the public will be able to engage with each AR exhibit at the designated location. Each applicant will determine a specific area for which they will display their experiences.

  • What are the prize categories?

    Judges Choice: Best Overall, Best Use of Face Filter, Best Use of World Effect, Best Use of Image Recognition, Honorable Mentions (Best Submission from a Long Beach-based Team, Best Connection to Long Beach’s Past, Present, or Future, Best Solution for Long Beach Businesses)

    Audience Favorite

  • Where are the eligible locations for my AR experience?

    The above map includes pre-approved locations. Please note that you are not limited to just these locations.


Thank you to our technology and local business partners for making the LB AR Challenge possible! To learn more about partnership opportunities, please contact Ryan Kurtzman, Smart Cities Program Manager. 

US Ignite




Studio 111


Spark AR Developer Resources

Congratulations Long Beach AR Challenge Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of our first ever Long Beach Augmented Reality (AR) Challenge!
Learn more about the winning AR experiences!