Climate Crisis: A Proof-of-concept Using Social Media-based Augmented Reality Lens as Behavioural Intervention

Francisco Jose Barbosa Escobar*, Qian Janice Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch


The interest in augmented reality (AR) has received increasing attention in recent years. Beyond providing additional product information, we believe that AR can be used strategically to convey otherwise impossible experiences that can communicate ideas across space and time. In this research, we developed a novel proof of concept to combine AR and social media with the goal of driving consumer behaviour change around food acceptability. The proof of concept consisted of an AR Snapchat Lens (“ClimateCrisis”) that aimed to make climate change feel closer to home for participants. The application made the user look into a possible dystopian future of the world if climate change continued unabated. The lens made it seem as if the world was on fire by adding an orange hue and smoke to the real environment and making the user look older. We tested the AR lens by conducting a short field experiment in which participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: brochure only, or brochure + AR. In both conditions, participants started by examining a brochure with information regarding climate change and carbon footprints of different protein sources. In one of the conditions, participants also tried out the Snapchat Lens on their own phones after reading the brochure. Before and after the experiment, participants were asked about their attitudes toward insect-based foods and climate change. At the end, they evaluated the mealworms and the overall experience. Overall, participants found the AR application engaging, fun, and interactive. Our proof of concept is the first attempt to leverage the combined capabilities of AR and large reach of social media for behaviour change. Similar applications can be easily implemented and scaled, leading to potentially viral impact. At the Pangborn symposium, we demoed the AR lens and gather feedback from attendees.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateAug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event15th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium: Meeting New Challenges in a Changing World - Nantes, France
Duration: 20 Aug 202324 Aug 2023
Conference number: 15


Conference15th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium
Internet address

Cite this