Although Pokémon Go has died down in hype since 2016, it looks like AR may still have a bright future. Developer Niantic announces today that it’s planning to let third-party developers use its Real World platform to develop apps. Niantic also shares a video to demonstrate this augmented reality platform, which also showcases a technique called occlusion.
The technique makes use of machine learning. Using this technique, Niantic is able to obscure virtual images behind real-world objects in real time. This will let creatures like Pikachu hide behind flower pots and park benches. Furthermore, the technique also works dynamically with moving objects such as people.
In the above AR experience of Codename: Niantic Occlusion, you can see Pikachu and Eevee weaving through and around different objects in the real world, dodging feet and also hiding behind planters.
This is just an experimental proof-of-concept. Niantic’s recently-acquired Matrix Mill team has spent years building and perfecting deep neural networks that can infer information about the surrounding world from one or more cameras. In any case, this is is significant step forward for AR technologies, and it would be great to see this implemented in the future in Pokémon Go or the upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
You can read more about Niantic’s new AR technology on its blog.