Niantic is releasing a platform for building what it calls “real-world metaverse” apps. Called Lightship, the platform is “built around the parts necessary to stitch together the digital and the real world,” CEO John Hanke tells me.
According to Hanke, Lightship will let mobile apps identify whether a user’s camera is pointed at the sky or water, map the surfaces and depth of an environment in real-time, or place a virtual object behind a physical one.
Niantic is best known for creating one of the most successful mobile games ever, Pokémon Go. With Lightship, Hanke says the company is “opening the vault of tech that we’ve been using to build our products” to help others build “planet-scale AR apps.”
Lightship has been in development for a long while. In any case, beginning Monday, it’s open for any designer to get to. The vast majority of the production tool compartment is free, however, Niantic will charge for a component that can allow various gadgets to get to shared AR encounters at the same time. The organization is likewise submitting $20 million to support new organizations building AR applications.
Niantic is now arranging a significant update to Lightship for the following year, building what Hanke calls a “visual situating framework” for AR glasses.
By utilizing the new framework, glasses with shows in them will want to see precisely where they are in reality, which will let virtual articles (like a Pikachu) stay secured relentlessly to genuine areas. It’s a basic part expected to make AR glasses, for example, the thoughtful that Niantic is working with Qualcomm, helpful.
Hanke, who recently ran Google Maps before beginning Niantic, says the objective with Lightship is to “fundamentally set an example for what AR can be.” While tech goliaths like Meta and Apple are building comparative programming instruments, he believes Lightship’s help for iOS and Android will make it an appealing proposition to engineers.
“The state of the world today is sort of 50/50 between Android and iOS,” he says. “And I think it’s going to be much more diversified in the world of AR glasses. So a solution that solves the developer problem of being able to write something and create something that’s going to work across multiple platforms is really important.”
In August, Hanke composed a blog entry calling the possibility of the metaverse a “dystopian nightmare.” He’s against the possibility of innovation hauling individuals out of this present reality. Not at all like the VR metaverse supported by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he needs Niantic and Lightship designers building AR applications that keep individuals drawn in with the physical.
“There’s a fork in the road,” he says. “One path goes in this direction of apps that are not connected to the world around us and not helping us connect with the people who we are around.” The other path Niantic is taking with Lightship, according to Hanke, is “encouraging people to do things together with other folks who are alive.”