Elevating the Experience of Giving


Brand Strategy, Branding, UI/UX/XR, Copywriting

Team Members

Angela Nguyen, Jesse Litton, Prayash Thapa


3rd, Best Everyday Mobile AR Hack

Luminate allows anyone to send donations and messages in a virtual lantern to a geo-tagged fundraising location. Using Augmented Reality, recipients in that area can explore the lanterns in real time using the camera on their device.

Luminate was built as a proof of concept in just 48 hours at MIT’s Reality, Virtually Hackathon. Out of 80 teams, we advanced to the top 10. We presented our concept to the Mayor of Boston, Microsoft, Samsung, and AT&T.

The Idea

In light of all the tragedies we experienced in 2017, we wanted to use AR for good. Our journey started with a simple question—is it possible to visualize compassion? Inspired by the natural beauty and community-fostering nature of lantern festivals, we sought to change the experience of giving.

Monetary donations are crucial after a disaster. During the research process we discovered that people tend to give physical goods like clothes, food, and other supplies—not all of which are helpful. When aid groups have to sort and distribute large amounts of physical items after a crisis it actually does more harm than good.

What if making monetary donations felt more tangible? Instead of just seeing a final number, like $1,000,000 raised for Las Vegas victims, what if you could see 1,000,000 lanterns along the Las Vegas strip? The lanterns become more than just donations and messages—it’s a positive, physical experience that brings people together. Luminate is more than a crowd-funding app, it’s a symbol of hope.

The Goal

Encourage more people to make monetary donations after a disaster by using Augmented Reality to enhance the experience of giving.


Our team accepted the award at the historic MIT Media Lab. Learn more about Luminate on Devpost.