US Ignite, Facebook Reality Labs Announce AR Developer Challenge Communities

WASHINGTON – January 27, 2021 –  US Ignite, in partnership with Facebook Reality Labs, announces the awarding of $20,000 to three communities that will host Augmented Reality (AR) Developer Challenge Competitions from February to August 2021. 

The AR Developer Challenge is a series of community-driven competition events focused on solving problems in areas such as healthcare, education, workforce development, and more. Developers for the AR Challenge events will use technologies like Facebook’s Spark AR platform and other AR solutions to compete for prizes and community recognition.

The three selected communities include:

  • City of Long Beach, CA: Exploring the downtown neighborhood using AR to experience elements of the City’s historic past, diverse present, and limitless future. “Long Beach has always been a hub of industrial and commercial innovation and we can’t wait to see what creative, safe, and fun AR ideas our community will imagine,” said Long Beach Smart Cities Manager Ryan Kurtzman. More information will be available this Spring and will be posted on the Smart City Long Beach website.
  • City of Raleigh and Town of Cary, NC, hosted by RIoT: Creating AR solutions for accessibility and inclusion, economic impact and workforce development in the Raleigh-Cary areas. “The global economy is steered by technology, and this effort helps talented entrepreneurs wielding the coolest AR tech to improve municipal services faster than cities might do on their own,” said Tom Snyder, Executive Director at RIoT. “I’m excited that RIoT can play a role, offering to help the best solutions to scale into sustainable ventures through the RIoT Accelerator Program and the seed capital this contest provides.” Follow @riotonsocial on Twitter and Instagram, or visit to learn more.
  • City of Philadelphia, PA: Using AR to make transportation options in Philadelphia more accessible, welcoming, and comfortable for individuals with diverse needs. “Philadelphia is excited to host a challenge that will spur innovation from our own vibrant tech community and beyond,” said Emily Yates, Director of SmartCityPHL. “Many Philadelphians rely on public transportation to get to work, school, stores, and recreation, and we believe augmented reality can help ensure it continues to serve all residents and visitors. This aligns with our SmartCityPHL initiative’s commitment to ensuring technology promotes equity and improves the quality of life for all Philadelphians.” More information will be available in late March / early April, follow @PHLInnovation on Twitter to stay in the loop.

Facebook Reality Labs is excited to collaborate with US Ignite and innovative communities to explore ways augmented reality (AR) can improve the lives of people in real and practical ways and reinvent how cities and small businesses reimagine serving their communities.” – Cindy Ball, Facebook Reality Labs Policy Programs Manager

For more information on the competition, please view the AR Developer Challenge page.

The US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program, a collaboration among universities, municipalities, and community anchor institutions, has been a leader in the development of AR technologies for several years. Kansas City, one of founding SGC communities, will also kick off an AR competition next month. Look for their announcement in the next few weeks.

About US Ignite

US Ignite is a high-tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate the smart community movement. We work to guide communities into the connected future, create a path for private sector growth, and advance technology research that’s at the heart of smarter development. For more information, visit

About Facebook Reality Labs

Facebook Reality Labs’ work in augmented and virtual reality spans a number of breakthrough technologies and touches industries ranging from entertainment and gaming to healthcare and beyond. Oculus lets people defy distance with cutting-edge VR hardware, while Portal helps friends and families stay connected and share the moments that matter in meaningful ways. Spark AR is the world’s largest AR platform, powering AR experiences for Facebook’s apps and devices. Our research teams invent and iterate on novel technologies that break exciting new ground.