Pokémon Go Developer Niantic Released Lightship Platform: A Tool For Developers To Create Augmented Reality And The Real-World Metaverse

Niantic has announced the release of the Niantic Lightship platform’s first set of augmented reality tools. The Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit, or ARDK, is a cross-platform software development kit that runs on billions of Android and iOS devices worldwide as part of the Lightship Platform. It brings together the tools and technology that support the top three AR capabilities:

  • Real-Time Mapping
  • Understanding
  • Sharing

This will allow developers all across the world to realize their dreams for augmented reality and the Real-World Metaverse.

Real-Time Mapping

In ARDK, meshing APIs (Meshing APIs) can be used to create real-time 3D mesh maps to understand the terrain and surface around the user, and they can be built in real-time as the user moves. Meanwhile, occlusion APIs (Occlusion APIs) can establish the correct depth sequence between virtual and physical objects.

Niantic’s depth technology adjusts to every Android or iOS device’s camera, from simple RGB sensors to the newest LiDAR-powered devices. As a result, developers may construct more visually realistic AR layers by using a dynamic 3D mesh map that considers both location and contextual understanding of the unique region surrounding the user within the AR application.

Semantic Segmentation APIs

Semantic Segmentation APIs employ computer vision to determine elements in the physical world. This can include the ground, sky, water, buildings, to name a few. This ensures proper interaction between virtual objects and various physical surfaces and determines Should they appear. 

Multiplayer APIs

Sharing is crucial to make all of these augmented reality experiences feel real. Multiplayer APIs (Multiplayer APIs) enable developers to create AR scenarios for up to five players, guaranteeing that their interactions with virtual objects are synced and instantaneous.

The ARDK is supported by a P2P networking stack and managed services to make shared experiences quick. With this, developers don’t have to write code to support multiplayer experiences. In addition, ARDK’s lightweight multiplayer game features include a synchronized clock, a player lobby system, and session-persistent storage.

In addition to ARDK, Niantic is working on the Niantic Visual Positioning System (VPS), which will let users place virtual objects in a specified location and have them found by other users of the same app. This is also one of Niantic’s initiatives towards creating a worldwide 3D map. So far, tens of thousands of sites have been built. It intends to allow all developers access to locations in several cities next year.

During the ARDK testing period, many teams created a variety of applications. Historic Royal Palaces, for example, which specializes in the management of British Royal Palaces, aims to plant flowers around the moat around the Tower of London next year and pay developers to mimic it using AR. Scenes for worldwide viewing; or Shueisha, a Japanese manga publisher, is preparing to introduce a new smartphone app that will allow manga characters to appear in real life.

Niantic’s gridding and semantic segmentation APIs are now available for free. If the monthly active users are less than 50,000, multiplayer APIs are likewise free. The first session is set to take place in May of next year. 

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLI-Ka_pmiw&t=1s