Today, we’re excited to announce our collaboration with Girls Who Code, RCA Records and Doja Cat to teach girls the fundamentals of creating for augmented reality (AR) and to show them the future prospects that exist within the AR tech industry. As the first step in this initiative, Girls Who Code selected five young women to make a new Spark AR effect modeled after Grammy Award winning, Doja Cat’s visually creative performance at this year’s Coachella Music Festival. The effects will be bundled with others made by top creators from Meta’s Spark AR Partners Network for the “Coachellaverse” effects collection.
Over the last few years, AR has blossomed from a nascent technology to one used broadly across communication, shopping, entertainment, expression and more. You can use it to see what a new jacket would look like on you, or how a new couch would fit into your living room. You can even play lightweight games with friends in video calls to feel like you’re sharing the same space. And increasingly, businesses are using AR for training, maintenance, and monitoring purposes, among many other applications. It’s expected to become a $98 billion market by 2028, and as it grows, there’s sure to be a hiring boom for people with AR creation skills. We’re committed to empowering young women and we would want them to be a big part of that boom
Excited to start creating
Participating in this program required being a quick learner, curiosity about exploring new software, and experience using AR effects on mobile devices. Girls Who Code chose five would-be creators — Fatima Zahra Chriha, Nimsy Corea, Ozioma Chukwukeme, Queenie Lau, and Victoria Naile — who not only met those requirements but were chomping at the bit to start creating.
Having been selected, the five drew inspiration for their projects from the visual styles of Doja Cat and the Coachella music festival. Their task was to create an effect based on a single design element from a list that included selfie (face) design, body segmentation, hand tracking interaction design, and hair segmentation.
“I’m inspired every day by the students in the Girls Who Code community, and know that they are some of the most powerful people currently entering the tech workforce,” said Dr. Tarika Barrett, CEO at Girls Who Code. “We’re thrilled that our students were able to join us in our continued partnership with Doja Cat, and use their computer science skills to participate in such an event as iconic as Coachella. Experiences like this prove that a career in tech can be fun and creative, and can be an outlet for all our passions.”
Throughout the process, the young women had access to mentorship, and when they were done, they contributed their individual effects as part of a single collaborative effect that’s being published to both the Doja Cat and Coachella Instagram profiles. This initiative also marks a continued partnership between Girls Who Code and Doja Cat, who together created the world's first codable music video for the song 'Woman.’
We hope that this experience will spur these five girls to pursue AR creation further and to attract many others to possibilities of this emerging platform. We want to demonstrate to as many young women as possible how working in tech could positively impact their lives and to equip them with skills.
“This project immersed me in an exciting and fast paced environment to explore sparkAR,” said Victoria Naile, one of the creators. “We were inspired by the imagery of Coachella and Planet Her, but we were always encouraged to explore our own creativity when designing the lens. This has been one of the most unique experiences of my career thus far and I see myself using the skills I learned in this program to explore my passion for art in a way that aligns with my love of technology. I’m thankful to the Meta team for empowering myself and my fellow Girls Who Code team-members to explore different avenues of tech.”
This partnership subverts the idea that women don’t belong in tech, and establishes the myriad of ways that young people can find their own voice in the tech industry – from social impact, to entertainment, to music. There are nearly limitless pathways for young women interested in fulfilling and lucrative career opportunities across AR and tech in general. Doja Cat’s collaboration is also the first among a series of artists Girls Who Code students will have the opportunity to collaborate through AR development. By illustrating the contributions of women in technology, and with the encouragement of female recording artists like Doja Cat and many more artists to come, we hope to show more young women that the world of emerging technology is wide open for them. We can’t wait to see them pursue it.