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Niantic is collaborating with Qualcomm to develop real-world AR software and Hardware

Creating an open AR platform that works across multiple devices!

Niantic revealed the next phase of its plan to create an open AR platform compatible with phones and other devices. Beginning in 2023, Qualcomm Technologies’ Snapdragon Spaces will be compatible with Niantic’s Lightship Visual Positioning System. That implies that programmers using the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform can quickly incorporate Lightship VPS (Visual Positioning System) functionality, enabling the placement and plausible interaction of digital works with the real world. They also want to help accelerate the development of AR headsets for outdoor use from hardware manufacturers across the industry.

Niantic aims to create amazing AR experiences on as many devices as possible

For as many hardware platforms as feasible, Niantic intends to make Lightship VPS accessible in order to support location-based AR experiences. Their VPS enables digital creations and objects to exist and remain in physical spaces just like physical objects would. In other words, if one person sets a digital object, another person can find it in the exact same spot. Therefore, virtual reality (AR) encounters are similar to how people engage with each other in the real world.

Niantic Lightship VPS
Image via Niantic

Lightship VPS’s dynamic 3D AR world map is an essential component. It is possible to create immersive AR experiences based on real-world locales thanks to this continually updated map, which enables AR devices to establish their real-world position with centimeter-level accuracy.

This map makes it possible for developers, consumer brands, creators, businesses, and anybody else to build AR experiences. For example, giving users hyper-local walking and transit instructions, giving buildings a magical motif, or placing a clue in a digital scavenger hunt under a park bench.

This map needs to be extremely detailed in order for phones or headsets to be able to pinpoint their location and orientation with incredible accuracy anywhere in the world—similar to GPS but without satellites and with far higher precision. By using this map, Lightship VPS enables centimeter-level accuracy in the location of a phone or headset.

Niantic and Qualcomm share a vision for an Open Reference Design for AR Hardware

In addition, Niantic and Qualcomm have revealed a demo that illustrates their idea for heads-up outdoor play while they work on a reference design for AR glasses. The hardware reference design demonstrates the possibility for outdoor-capable augmented reality headsets that can self-orient using the Niantic map and render data and virtual worlds on top of the real environment.

The reference design will keep developing, and we are enthusiastic about the new Snapdragon AR2 platform, which offers ground-breaking technologies to help headset manufacturers faster and more effectively develops sleek, marketable devices based on our vision for consumers.

As they move closer to becoming compatible with Lightship VPS for Web, there will be more to come. Our ground-breaking WebAR technology, Lightship VPS for Web, combines the physical and virtual worlds and turns commonplace sites into experiential travel destinations – all from the convenience of a web browser.

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