Middle East creators win big at Snap Inc.’s ‘Build the Future Lensathon’

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Pushing the boundaries of AR development in the region, creators from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman were among the top winners from around the world

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Snap Inc. recently announced the results of its worldwide ‘Build the Future Lensathon’, which called on augmented reality (AR) creators from around the world to come up with innovative and engaging AR experiences to help people express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. The competition engaged more than 3,000 developers internationally who competed for $200,000 in prizes. 

Denis Rosiev, a budding designer and creator from the UAE, won the global competition and took home $40,000 in prize money. Meanwhile, creators Ibrahim Boona from Saudi Arabia and Mohamad el Asmar from Oman each bagged silver awards worth $5,000 each. 

Commenting on his victory, Rosiev said: “I’m a big fan of pixel and voxel art – everything square and low-poly. Initially, I wanted to build a Lens that turns everything into voxels, but later it evolved into the idea of a full-featured voxel scanner that can be used to create art. I like the freedom Lens Studio provides: it’s so powerful that I was able to build a robust tool inside a Lens!”

Making it to the top among hundreds of submissions, Denis’ LiDAR Lens, VOXELIZE, is a real-time AR voxel scanner that exports 3D models as .glbs. VOXELIZE’s intuitive two-finger touch gestures can be used to effortlessly scale and rotate the voxel grid for precise resolution selection and alignment with the walls or borders of the target object. A built-in machine learning model automatically segments objects from the background, streamlining the scanning process. Scans can then be exported as .glbs for editing in any 3D software. VOXELIZE has a broad range of applications across construction, architecture, interior design, and more.

Speaking about what’s next in store for VOXELIZE, Rosiev added: “I’m planning to build an actual iOS app using Snap Camera Kit. It will open more possibilities, such as in-app scan storage and direct export. As Lens Studio evolves, I’m going to use this technology to build experiences where users can scan, edit and share cool voxel objects between different lenses and locations.”

Talking about the brilliant talent discovered from the region, Jake Thomas, Head of UAE at Snap Inc. in MENA, expressed: “We are pleased to see young creators within the region’s creative community not only share their passion and showcase their talent to a global audience, but come first place and thrive within the rapidly evolving AR ecosystem. It’s exciting to see creators push the boundaries of AR development and build their careers with Snap’s advanced AR tools. We will continue supporting our AR community and we look forward to offering more global opportunities for local creators here in the MENA region.”

Other winners hailed from countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, India, the Netherlands, and Czech Republic. 

About Snap Inc.:

Snap is a technology company. We believe the camera presents the greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. Snap contributes to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. The Company’s three core products are Snapchat, a visual messaging app that enhances your relationships with friends, family, and the world; Lens Studio, an augmented reality platform that powers AR across Snapchat and other services; and it’s AR glasses, Spectacles.