Niantic announces ‘Niantic Lightship’ and its accompanying Augmented Reality Developer Kit

In Augmented Reality News 

May 12, 2021 – Niantic, developer of Pokémon GO, and supplier of a ‘planet-scale’ augmented actuality (AR) platform, has introduced that its ‘Niantic Real World Platform’ is getting a brand new identify — Niantic Lightship — and that the corporate will likely be providing broader entry to the brand new Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit (ARDK), enabling builders to construct their very own immersive, imaginative and distinctive AR purposes.

Niantic Lightship encompasses the complete Niantic platform, together with the suite of instruments and providers that energy Niantic video games, from Ingress to Pokémon GO, to the corporate’s partnership with Nintendo to convey the Pikmin universe to the Niantic group. Niantic acknowledged that Lightship units the business normal for mapping and shared, planetary-scale AR experiences.

The Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit presents builders a strong set of instruments that enable them to create multiplayer experiences and convey them to life with depth, physics, occlusions, and semantic segmentation.

Niantic famous that since launching the Niantic Lightship ARDK as a non-public alpha earlier this yr, tons of of gaming and non-gaming builders have engaged with the corporate’s engineering, product growth and assist groups to check the bounds of what’s doable with the expertise. The suggestions from these builders has helped form the AR instruments, options, documentation and core performance of the Niantic Lightship platform, and consequently the ARDK non-public beta incorporates a bunch of superior instruments, together with enhancements in three key areas:

Real-time Mapping by means of superior Meshing combines smartphone digicam expertise with a neural community, to map an atmosphere in actual time right into a mesh of repeating tessellated triangles, leading to a machine-readable illustration of the bodily world. In the Niantic Lightship ARDK, meshing makes “physics” doable for digital objects;


Semantic Segmentation helps distinguish between diversified traits of an area (e.g. floor, sky, a constructing, and so forth.) in order that digital objects can look, really feel and transfer in that area in life like methods. Lightship can robotically phase completely different pure out of doors objects in a scene, enabling AR content material to work together with particular surfaces;


More strong Multiplayer performance permits builders to learn from colocalization, networking and synchronization enhancements, enabling immersive multiplayer experiences the place as much as eight gamers can share the identical AR expertise in the identical actual world area on the similar time. Peer-to-peer messaging and back-end server options are additionally inbuilt, so builders can give attention to sculpting the shared expertise. While this sort of content material anchoring is at the moment ephemeral, Niantic states that long-term digital content material anchoring will allow builders to construct future AR experiences that persist.

“Niantic is constructing the 3D map of the world hand-in-hand with its participant base to energy new sorts of immersive AR experiences,” mentioned Kei Kawai, Niantic’s Vice President of Product Management. “With the Niantic Lightship Platform and ARDK, we need to present the richest collection of growth instruments and applied sciences, so any developer can create their very own distinctive experiences.”

One of the foundational applied sciences within the AR area is meshing, which Niantic permits on units by leveraging widespread smartphone cameras. Its distinctive method creates meshes utilizing the RGB shade sensors present in most cameras, quite than requiring LiDAR scanners solely obtainable on some excessive finish units. Instead, Niantic’s meshing expertise scans the atmosphere round a participant, creating in actual time a 3D map that permits any Lightship platform expertise to put digital content material in the precise bodily place, combining context from the actual world atmosphere with the developer’s atmosphere. 

However, the expertise does additionally mix seamlessly with telephones that do have LiDAR, together with iPhone 12 Pro fashions, permitting builders utilizing the Niantic Lightship ARDK to create dynamic maps for experiences with out worrying about particular units.

Finally, Niantic added that as a way to totally understand the way forward for AR, we’ll want a 3D map of the world. As a end result, the corporate is constructing its ‘Virtual Positioning System’ (VPS) and superior instruments that enable AR experiences to leverage geolocation and persistent content material anchoring with precision, whereas additionally supporting world scale.

Interested builders can sign up to hitch the non-public beta of the Niantic Lightship ARDK, in addition to study extra about Niantic Publishing. For extra info on Niantic and its AR improvements, please go to the corporate’s website.

Image / video credit score: Niantic

About the writer

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in analysis and report writing, he covers information articles on each the AR and VR industries. He additionally has an curiosity in human augmentation expertise as a complete, and doesn’t simply restrict his studying particularly to the visible expertise facet of issues.

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