Building the bridge between mobile and the future

Hundreds of thousands of people have developed augmented reality effects using the Spark AR platform, and it's just getting started. Here's where Spark AR product director Sue Young sees the technology heading.
By Mike Schroepfer
November 13, 2020

One of my favorite things about Facebook is its history of building the tools and platforms that power the work of engineers across the industry. From React, which had a radical impact on how websites and apps get made, to PyTorch, which is powering the future of AI today, it’s one of the biggest contributions our engineers make to technological progress globally.

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One such tool that’s growing today is Spark AR, a platform for developers and creators building things in augmented reality. More than 400,000 people have made augmented reality effects using Spark AR, and they’ve produced more than 1.2 million AR effects to date — effects that now reach more than 600 million users. 

It’s always a great feeling to see the technology we’ve built get into the hands of people, especially when you can witness the ways it’s making their lives better. But there’s something even more inspiring about building the tools and platforms that others use to create things. 

Every programmer and engineer knows that their work is only possible because of the contributions of so many others who came before them. In the public imagination, we love the Eureka! moment: the inventor suddenly cracking the secret. In reality, every new thing is built on top of a stack of innovations that came before. That’s where so much progress happens.  

Spark AR is no different — it builds atop mountains of work in fields like computer vision and artificial intelligence. And its biggest impact on the world will be what people build with it — we’re already seeing great AR work happening on the platform, and it’s just getting started.  Most importantly, it has attracted a truly diverse global developer community: more than half are women, and they hail from 190 countries. 

This week I spoke with Sue Young, Spark AR’s product director, about how this great community came together, and what’s coming next. Augmented reality, Sue says, is “the bridge between mobile and the future”, and it was really exciting getting to hear her perspective on where it’s heading — I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.