I fell in love with scuba diving on my very first dive in Phuket, Thailand over a decade ago. Since that dive, I have obtained my PADI open water diver certification, and continued my love of diving in Cozumel, Hawaii, Dominican Republic, and more.

Through scuba diving, I've become aware of the problems facing the oceans that cover 71% of our earth's surface. Additionally, 400 different species of marine life have ingested or become entangled in marine debris, and 70% of marine litter end up on the bottom of our oceans. This project is in support of the non-profit, Project Aware, and specifically their Dive Against Debris campaign. The Dive Against Debris initiative is the "Adopt-a-Highway" program for the ocean where divers pick up and catalog marine debris (aka trash). Divers through the Dive Against Debris program have already removed and cataloged over 1 million pieces of marine debris in the ocean to date.

What it does

This project starts off by picturing yourself scuba diving with full gear in selfie mode. Then turn the camera around to see the beautiful ocean floor. Fish are swimming by and crabs are doing their dance.

  1. From your mobile device, access this link:
  2. It should open the Facebook app and take you to my project.
  3. If you are in selfie mode, you'll see yourself in scuba gear in the ocean. Flip the camera around to view the ocean floor. You'll be prompted to pick up marine debris and do your part for the Dive Against Debris campaign.

Is that a spool of plastic fishing line I see? User instruction: "Tap the spool of fishing line to help clean up #DiveAgainstDebris" Once the user finds and taps the spool, it disappears. Next user instruction: "Tap the glass bottle to help clean up #DiveAgainstDebris" Once the user finds and taps the bottle, it disappears. The user is rewarded with a clean ocean view and the message: "Great job! Thanks for doing your part for #DiveAgainstDebris"

How I built it

Drawing from my scuba diving experiences, I started searching the AR library for 3d objects of marine life and scuba diving equipment. I found "dancing crabs," coral, and goggles. I started with the Visual Shaders Sample Effect to learn how to incorporate 3D objects with a face tracker. Next, I completed the Learning Path Challenges in the Developer Circle Resources. On August 10th, 2019, I co-led the Spark AR workshop at the Atlanta Community Build Day - photos here. Using my learning from the Spark AR demos and tutorials, I started searching for the 3D objects I needed for my project. I searched the AR library for scuba goggles, a wet suit, a scuba breathing equipment, coral, a glass bottle, marine creatures (crabs and fish), fishing spool, and more. Next, I searched and found 2D royalty-free images for my ocean background, fish, and other objects I needed for my effect. I resized and placed the background images for the front camera and the back cameras. Next, I added a face tracker and placed my 3D objects for the front camera. For the back camera, I placed coral, the ocean debris, and dancing crabs. I used particle systems to simulate swimming fish and bubbles rising, just as I've seen in my own scuba diving experience.
I created a "gamification" aspect of the effect by instructing the user to look for specific pieces of ocean debris (first the spool of fishing line), and have the user "pick-up" trash by having them tap on the object. I utilized "touch object" logic to simulate the "trash pick-up" portion of my effect. i.e. when the user touches the glass bottle, the glass bottle disappears and the user receives a message stating that they have picked up the bottle. I realized that I provided visual instructions to help the user navigate the challenge of the effect.

Challenges I ran into

I wanted to create a fully immersive scuba diving experience which required combining a background with 3D objects on a face tracker. I positioned the objects on the face tracker, but when I added the background, the 3D objects disappeared behind the background. I had to move the 3D objects forward (Z axis) in order for them to be visible in front of the background. Additionally, I didn't have the resources to create 3D objects that didn't already exist in the library. I couldn't find the scuba diving regulator that a diver uses to breath underwater. I had to get creative and combine a tube and a stopper for the breathing apparatus.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I co-led the Spark AR workshop at our Community Build Day in Atlanta on August 10, 2019



I took the 3 Quickstart labs from the Developers Challenge Resources and walked through the exercises in a series of 3 videos here -

Since August 2019, I now have 4 Facebook effects, and 3 Instagram filters approved. My Hearts Instagram filter received over 60,000 impressions in the first week thanks to a couple of my influencer friends sharing my filter.

What I learned

When I embarked on this journey, I honestly didn't even know how to access Facebook effects, much less make one. I learned the power of augmented reality and Facebook's investment in AR. I learned SparkAR, the approval process, and the technical and space requirements to create and submit an effect.

What's next for Dive Against Debris

Through my project, I hope to help decrease new ocean trash through awareness of the economic and environmental impacts. I hope that the typical beach goer, or cruise ship passenger will now think twice before tossing trash into the ocean. I would love to increase the gamification aspect and add more marine life.

Project Aware

Built With

  • sparkar
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