Pokemon Go creator Niantic unveiled a new tech that is designed to shatter a strong AR limitation: the inability of computer-generated objects to disappear behind real-world objects.
The latest tech was showcased using the company’s record-breaking AR game, Pokémon Go. In a short clip, one can see that Pikachu can get behind real-world objects with no problem. Current AR technologies do not allow computer-generated objects to hide behind a real-world obstacle. Instead, the AR objects just float over the real-world objects.
The new technology is still in the works, but it could solve AR applications’ greatest problem: computer-generated objects do not disappear when trying to get behind a real object. They just float around, which makes the AR experience less immersive.
Pokemon Go players have known this issue ever since the game was launched, and they asked Niantic to fix it. The developer agreed that the problem is a huge limitation to the overall AR experience and came up with a solution.
The New Tech Could Become Available to All Developers
The Verge found that the company’s AR engine now uses a technology called “occlusion” which makes 3 D characters disappear when getting behind real-world objects or when real people are walking in front of them.
The company explained that the new tech is based on machine learning and a complex neural network.
The recently unveiled algorithms couldn’t be developed if Niantic had not bought a startup called Matrix Mill. The new tech can detect when an AR object is behind a real-world object and “occlude” it.
For the moment, the tech is not final. But Niantic’s proof-of-concept video shows that the company is very serious about fixing the AR limitation. Occlusion could be used in the next Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite titles.
Niantic also promised to give access to third-party developers to its updated AR engine dubbed Real World Platform. So, expect the tech to be integrated into more apps and games.
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