Niantic Acquires 3D-Mapping Company 6D.ai

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Niantic logo
Niantic logo

In a March 31 blog post, Niantic announced its acquisition of 6D.ai, a company primarily focused on three-dimensional mapping for augmented reality.  This acquisition is in line with previous acquisitions such as that of Escher Reality in 2018, but 6D.ai will certainly bring some unique elements in support of Niantic’s vision.

6D.ai focuses primarily on solving the fundamental problems of augmented reality–issues such as the way objects render on various surfaces and how to replicate items as realistically as possible.  Notably, 6D.ai seeks to create an AR cloud, a shared platform between all apps that would allow people to have shared augmented reality experiences.  In order to achieve this, 6D.ai uses its mapping technology to create models of all sorts of real-world objects and uploads them to a database that thousands of developers can access.

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6D.ai’s acquisition will certainly have implications for Niantic’s AR prospects.  The idea of a shared AR experience is definitely tantalizing for games such as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.  In a world where 6D.ai’s ideas are fully developed, we could see vast, collaborative experiences that would allow players to share both a virtual and real-world experience.  A few of the things floated in Niantic’s blog post and a statement by 6D.ai included Pokémon habitats, dragons landing on real-life buildings, and players leaving notes for each other.

Currently, the augmented reality capabilities of Wizards Unite are restricted to simple camera projections such as Portkeys and Traces, but with 6D.ai’s continued efforts, we may see a world in which the entire Wizards Unite experience can take place in augmented reality.  Obviously, this is not something that we can expect in the near future, but Niantic’s acquisition of 6D.ai makes this possibility all the more closer.

Additionally, 6D.ai’s efforts to create a three-dimensional map of the entire world will have massive implications for the future of augmented reality.  Once such a map is complete, game interactions would be able to take place on a planetary scale and the ability for players to be digitally present in areas among real-life players would truly become a possibility.  As a fan of Wizards Unite and several other augmented reality games, I can only hope that these efforts will lead me to a future where I visit my friends for a special event with only a few swipes of my phone.

Overall, Niantic’s acquisition of 6D.ai confirms the company’s commitment to making the grandest and most cutting-edge augmented reality experience possible.  Their continued work will likely bring about great things not only for the gaming universe, but also for the development of technologies in the near and far future.  And, most importantly to the present player, 6D.ai’s solutions will inevitably assist in solving some of the problems and glitches that plague the augmented reality games of this age.

What are your thoughts on Niantic’s acquisition of 6D.ai?  Do you think it will have implications on the near future of Wizards Unite, or will it simply apply further out?

Let me know your opinion in the comments below or on through the Wizards Unite Hub social channels. Until then, let’s all get excited about the future of augmented reality!

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Fires of Heaven
Fires of Heaven
1 month ago

In regards to the acquisition of 6d by Niantic, I believe the industry is missing a HUGE piece of the puzzle. Placenote.com is this missing piece. Placenote creates maps/zones of the real world by utilizing point clouds. Once you paint enough point clouds in an area, you can use it to anchor gameobjects in precise points. You can also share and save these maps, edit them while you are inside of them, and have great multiplayer positioning with multiple devices inside these maps. I’d say Placenote is the much stronger technology as 6d just creates a mesh of the world… Read more »