Pokémon Go Developer Shows Off New Augmented Reality Tech With Pikachu
Niantic first launched Pokémon Go two years ago and a lot of people marveled at the novelty of capturing Pokémon in the augmented reality of your phone. That novelty quickly wore off for a lot of people, though, as Pokémon just kind of floated in place in front of the camera, causing a lot of Pokémon Go players to simply switch to the virtual capture environment. If this new Occlusion demo from Niantic is any indication, however, AR might become an extremely cool thing for Pokémon Go players to use.
The demo, dubbed Codename: Niantic Occlusion, shows off new tech that allows their AR images to disappear behind objects. Currently, using Pokémon Go as an example, if you are catching a Pikachu on a bus, it just stands there regardless of what you're looking at. If someone is standing behind Pikachu, but then walks toward the camera, Pikachu stays floating in front. Niantic Occlusion seems to remedy that by showing Pikachu ducking behind things and people in the camera's view.
Check out the demo video below, which shows the way it currently works, then the way it might one day work with Pikachu, and then with Pikachu and Eevee.
From Niantic's video description:
The recently acquired Matrix Mill team at Niantic has spent years building and perfecting deep neural networks that can infer information about the surrounding world from one or more cameras. This technology redefines how machines see and understand the 3D world and more importantly, how digital objects can interact with the real elements of it. Using computer vision and deep learning we are able to develop techniques to understand 3D space enabling much more realistic Augmented Reality (AR) interactions than are currently possible. 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 hiding behind planters. This level of integration into the environment around us is a proof-of-concept that excites us about the future of AR.
It's not clear if this tech is going to ever be used in Pokémon Go, but it's certainly an interesting look at future AR tech.