Cupsy AR

Client: Storyfutures, Costa Coffee and Heathrow Airport


Cupsy is an interactive animated character with the purpose of improving correct recycling practises in the crowded (80+ million passengers per year) terminal 5 at Heathrow airport.

Behind Cupsy’s cute exterior is sophisticated cutting edge technology from a range of fields including machine learning, object recognition and augmented reality, creating a truly unique experience with a worthy end goal.

Winner of the Storyfutures heathrow challenge, Cupsy presented Surround Vision with the opportunity to create a technologically advanced solution to a real world question: How do we change people’s behavior in relation to how they recycle coffee cups?

Contributors Included

  • Gina Rodriguez of TV’s ‘Jane the Virgin’ showing how role models gave her the courage to only accept acting roles that empower women.
  • Inna Braverman, the pioneering clean energy entrepreneur, who pushed to develop a patented technology for the generation of clean energy.
  • Tiera Fletcher, a 22 year old aeronautical engineer working for NASA, who’s paving the way for women in space exploration and science.
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Muslim to win a medal at the Olympics wearing a Hijab. Who now runs a fashion label and Muslim Barbie Doll.


Animated AR and machine learning billboard

Project Brief

Storyfutures Heathrow challenge, AR for Good

Project Delivery

Cupsy will recognise any person holding a Costa Coffee cup and show them exactly how they should recycle with playful animation and simple messaging.

We achieved this by training our core program to recognise the color and shape of the coffee cup from thousands of angles so that anytime a user was seen by the unit's camera holding a cup in any position the AR character would spring to life and interact with its real life counterpart. Cupsy can even recognise the emotion of the person holding the cup and change his actions accordingly. When the user then recycles the cup correctly Cupsy celebrates with the ultimate aim of reinforcing this behavioural habit for next time.


The world's first 'Augmented Reality recycling bin' and Winner of the Storyfutures Heathrow Airport challenge ("Pop Pour Drop challenge").

Extensive audience research and analytics proved that the project was a great success with correct recycling levels going through the roof!... Not bad for our clever little guy!

Background: StoryFutures announced a collaboration with Heathrow & Costa Coffee & launched a behaviour change challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the region. Companies were tasked with prototyping an immersive experience aimed at encouraging visitors at Heathrow T5 to engage and act with sustainable recycling behaviours.


Designed to broaden horizons whilst normalising female leadership - This project was all about inspiring a new generation of women to push the boundaries and achieve their dreams. Designed to broaden horizons whilst normalising female leadership.