Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Developer Challenge
The Year-Long Series Kicks Off with the Discovery and Design Workshop March 30, 2021

KANSAS CITY – Press Release February 1, 2021

KC Digital Drives Solutions Lab, in collaboration with T-Mobile and US Ignite, is announcing an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Heartland Developer Challenge. This year-long series event includes a development sprint to create innovative AR/VR solutions to address local community needs. We are giving away $20,000 in cash prizes to help fund the early AR/VR development phase.

The event will focus on community building, bringing innovators, developers, partners, and entrepreneurs together to unearth ideas, break ground on new innovative concepts, and create opportunities to grow an ecosystem of AR/VR solutions through new and existing partnerships with the goal to build new solutions and businesses

The AR/VR Developer Challenge kicks off on March 30, 2021, with a Design and Discovery Workshop. The day will involve framing ideas into action by initiating the concepts into concrete project opportunities. Development teams will then have time to work on their project prior to the hackathon, scheduled for May

At the hackathon, innovation teams will move from project concept to early development. Teams will present their ideas, and judges will award cash prizes to the top two AR/VR projects.  During the next two months, teams can continue to develop their product to showcase to a broader audience on Demo Day, scheduled in August.

We are inviting all interested AR/VR developers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to sign up here.

The team is actively looking for other partners who believe AR/VR tools may help them deliver solutions in healthcare, education, training, civic engagement, or public safety. Public sector and private sector partners are welcome, whether they bring a specific idea or just an open mind to the process. We’re taking ideas and building teams! Submit ideas here.

For more information about the AR/VR Developer Challenge, please visit

“KC Digital Drive was created to help leverage KC’s unique connectivity infrastructure for civic impact. As digital transformation has accelerated during this past year of Covid, and 5G wireless networks are increasingly available, we are closer than ever to realizing some of these opportunities. We are delighted to have T-Mobile as a sponsor and continue our partnership with US Ignite,”  says Aaron Deacon, Managing Director of KCDD.

KCDD’s open innovation program for AR/VR tech has created several solutions over the years. Some examples are AR for first responders, a solution that increases firefighter and first responder training effectiveness. Another example – VR for education is an app that helps KC students experience and learn about Black history. In addition, there’s also a healthcare application that enables real-time views of the human anatomy to educate medical professionals. 

The work to develop solutions in the healthcare sector is supported by KC Digital Drive’s Health Innovation Team that brings together hospitals, healthcare providers, city and state government officials to work on technology and innovation projects in the region.

Kansas City Digital Drive is a nonprofit organization that helps align emerging tech to solve crucial civic, social, and public sector problems in the Kansas City area. KCDD’s mission is to develop new solutions to help the community, grow the innovation ecosystem in the midwest and create new businesses, and support entrepreneurship.

KCDD was formed in 2014 to collaborate with civic KC leaders on the Gigabit Smart City project. Since then, the organization has grown to a consortium of leaders, from civic, academic, healthcare, technology, entrepreneurs partners, and volunteers across the midwest. The group develops health care, workforce development, education solutions, and other applications that serve the public good. 

US Ignite is accelerating the smart city movement – and creating value for an entire ecosystem – by guiding communities into the connected future, creating a path for private sector growth, and advancing technology research that’s at the heart of smart city development. 

The US Ignite and KCDD partnership has supported open innovation competitions to produce over 30 early-stage projects and raised $500,000 to assist with developing early phase projects. 

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