Niantic popup at HPWU Fan FestivalSource: iMore

Niantic, the developers behind the wildly popular Pokémon Go, has announced the acquisition of 6D.ai today. If you've never heard of 6D.ai before today, it's okay — neither have I, honestly. But that changes today.

For the uninitiated, 6D.ai started in 2017 from Oxford University's Active Vision Lab. The purpose of 6d.ai is to build computer vision-based technologies to solve augmented reality issues, like 3D construction, for example. Together with Niantic, the goal is to create a dynamic, 3D map of the world to build new, planet-scale AR experiences. This is quite exciting, even if you aren't into Pokémon Go. This is the future of AR.

Personally, I stopped playing Pokémon Go a while ago. I can't even remember when the last time I played it "seriously" was. I think it was about the time Harry Potter: Wizards Unite came out, but hey guess what, I've kind of stopped playing that too. But that doesn't matter — this acquisition of 6d.ai could mean even bigger things for AR in general, but of course, since it's Niantic, the focus is on Pokémon Go.

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The potential outcomes of this acquisition are almost endless — just think of the possibilities! For now, though, Niantic mentions "being able to experience Pokémon habitats in the real world or watch dragons fly through the sky and land on buildings in real-time. Imagine our favorite characters taking us on a walking tour of hidden city gems, or friends leaving personal notes for others to find later."

Out of those possible scenarios for this new AR tech, I think the last two could be the most interesting, at least for me. I would love to be able to use advanced AR technology to be able to teach me about my surroundings in a much more interesting way or even leaving notes for others to find all over town.

I've always had a dream where one day we can all just use our phones (or even smartglasses) as a viewfinder to see people and the digital trail that they've left behind. You know, Minority Report kind of stuff. I feel like having AR technology advancements such as this is just another step in that direction.

And I mean, hey, it would be pretty rad to see dragons in the sky and landing on a building in real-time, then breathing out fire too. Even if you aren't into the Pokémon Go scene, there are a lot of ways that this new AR tech can be applied, whether it's games or not. I look forward to what comes out of Niantic and 6D.ai.