13 July 2018

Pokemon Go Developers Show Off Impressive Occlusion Tech

Posted By Laura Thompson
apps AR AR in gaming augmented reality interactive technology Niantic Occlusion AR Pokemon Go Real world platform smart phone apps
In Pokemon Go developer Niantic’s recent blog, they announce that they are working on impressive new AR technology that could revolutionise real world platform gaming.

Niantic’s aim is to create more realism and situational awareness within augmented reality, but this isn't your standard everyday occlusion.

In their blog, you can see an example where, using computer vision and recognition techniques, they are able to identify objects and compare that object's size with the size it would expect it to be at that distance. Based on that, it will decide whether the object should be occluded.

The example they use is of an animated Pikachu sitting on a real world chair. Currently, with the existing technology used in Pokemon Go, Pikachu would be hovering over the chair as if it didn’t exist.

With Niantic’s occlusion technology, virtual Pikachu can even ‘hide behind’ real-world objects- as they demo in a short video in their blog, showing Pikachu weaving in and out of plant pots and crowds.
In their blog, Niantic say:
“Advanced AR requires an understanding of not just how the world looks, but also what it means: what objects are present in a given space, what those objects are doing, and how they are related to each other, if at all. The Niantic Real World Platform is building towards contextual computer vision, where AR objects understand and interact with real world objects in unique ways–stopping in front of them, running past them, or maybe even jumping into them.

Once we understand the “meaning” of the world around us, the possibilities of what we can layer on is limitless. We are in the very early days of exploring ideas, testing and creating demos. Imagine, for example, that if our platform is able to identify and contextualise the presence of flowers, then it will know to make a bumblebee appear. Or, if the AR can see and contextualise a lake, it will know to make a duck appear.

Recognizing objects isn’t limited to understanding what they are, but also where they are. One of the key limitations of AR currently is that AR objects cannot interact meaningfully in a 3D space. Ideally, AR objects should be able to blend into our reality, seamlessly moving behind and around real world objects.”

In one of our previous blogs this year, we reported that Niantic were developing a Harry Potter real world platform game. Since then, the release date has been pushed back and it may not be out until 2019- could the reason for this be that they want more time to develop and integrate occlusion technology into the game?

It’s an exciting time in the world of Augmented Reality and here at Peel Interactive, we are always testing the limits of AR technology and applying it to mobile game apps and more. Please contact us at ian.capper@peelinteractive.co.uk or call 01756 796176 for more information about what we could do for you.