Case Study: SheSaw – Empowering Women’s Stories through Augmented Reality

Augmented reality technology has been actively employed in fields such as art, education, medicine, and industry for some time, but its use in social projects is just beginning. Today, we are sharing a remarkable case from the social sphere, demonstrating how it can evolve into a successful business.

Donna Fisher, a graduate of the Australian Women’s Business School, embarked on a journey to transform the way women’s stories are told and recognized. She is the founder of SheSaw, a groundbreaking initiative that combines technology and tourism to create virtual statues that celebrate the often-overlooked contributions of women in society.

Business Inception:
In February 2020, Donna established SheSaw with a clear mission – to make women’s stories visible and honor their diverse impacts on the world. Her inspiration came from her travels, where she noticed that women’s narratives were frequently sidelined. It was during a trip to India, guided by an inspiring woman named Dee, that Donna’s vision began to take shape. Dee shared stories of remarkable women from India’s past and provided unique insights into the daily lives of women in her country. Donna was determined to replicate this eye-opening experience and shed light on women’s stories that often remained untold.

The SheSaw App – Blending AR, Social and Tourism:
Donna’s most exciting endeavor within SheSaw is the development of an app that leverages Augmented Reality (AR) to increase the visibility of women worldwide. The app offers self-guided walks where users can unlock AR statues via their smartphone cameras. These statues tell the stories of local women who have left their mark on the area. Currently, only 4% of statues globally are dedicated to women, and Donna believes it’s time to change that. Traditional statues require substantial resources and often fail to communicate the individual’s impact. SheSaw’s virtual statues provide an affordable, sustainable, and engaging alternative, allowing anyone to commission a virtual statue to honor women who have made a positive impact.

A Socially Responsible Approach:
SheSaw not only strives to bring women’s stories to the forefront but also contributes to the cause. The business allocates 10% of its profits to UN Women, ensuring that these narratives have a tangible impact on the ground.

AR Experience:
The SheSaw app uses Augmented Reality (AR) icons to give women public recognition. As you walk around, AR icons appear, letting you know you are walking in the footsteps of a woman who deserves to be remembered. The app then shares her story. The augmented reality technology is seamlessly integrated into the SheSaw app through the MyWebAR platform. WebAR technology allows users to experience AR content directly in a web browser or within the app, eliminating the need for additional downloads or installations. This user-friendly approach ensures that SheSaw users can effortlessly explore women’s stories without any additional hassles.

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Project Launch:
The project was officially unveiled on International Women’s Day in 2021 at World Square in Sydney. Participants at the event discovered stories of remarkable women, attached to AR markers right on the square, and also shared stories of women they knew. The project received extensive coverage in the media and garnered attention on social media platforms.

Achievements:
SheSaw’s project, driven by its social mission, has been recognized by professionals in the field. The project’s design received the prestigious Good Design Award 2021 in the SOCIAL IMPACT category Good Design Award 2021. It also emerged as a winner in the NSW/ACT Digital Innovation and One to Watch categories at the Australia-wide AusMumpreneur Awards 2021.

Conclusion:
Donna’s journey exemplifies the power of determination, innovation, and a commitment to bringing hidden stories to light. SheSaw stands as a beacon of change, championing the cause of women’s recognition and empowerment through the fusion of technology and storytelling.

Getting Started with Augmented Reality for Social Projects:
If you’re considering delving into augmented reality for your social projects, here are some valuable tips to get you started:

  • Rethink Your Project. Take a fresh perspective on your social project. Are there elements that could benefit from enhanced visualization?
  • Visualize with AR. Envision replacing traditional project visualization methods such as website graphics, printed posters, and 3D models of maps and buildings with augmented reality. The cost savings potential can be significant.
  • Embrace Immersive Technology. Don’t shy away from immersive tech projects. You don’t have to wait for augmented reality glasses; your smartphone is all you need to begin today.
  • Pioneer in Social AR. Augmented reality finds extensive use in art, education, and industrial sectors, yet its application in the social sphere remains relatively untapped. Seize the opportunity to be a pioneer, and recognition and awards will naturally follow.
  • Continuous Improvement: Keep in mind that AR projects can evolve and expand over time. You can introduce new elements to your projects without altering the QR code. Printed QR codes for augmented reality activation on the MyWebAR platform seamlessly accommodate updated content.
  • Start Your Experiment. Take the first step by signing up for the MyWebAR platform and begin experimenting with your own projects right away. If your projects are non-commercial (especially for social projects), you can utilize the platform completely free of charge, and there are no time constraints.

Get ready to unleash the potential of augmented reality in your social initiatives!

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