While few actual AR headsets exist at the moment, the race to scan and map the world using AR technology is already heating up. Niantic, maker ofand collaborator with Qualcomm on a , has just acquired a company that enables collaborative AR world maps to be shared.
6D.ai is a company that specializes in building out 3D world meshes that multiple people can share and keep building on. While Apple's newest iPad uses new lidar tech hardware to better mesh and map the world through hardware, 6D.ai can do things like this without needing specialized hardware. The system creates an infrastructure that headsets or phones can share data, like a crowdsourced AR toolkit. 6D.ai has already partnered with Qualcomm, too.
"Together, we're building a dynamic, 3D map of the world so we can enable new kinds of planet-scale AR experiences," Niantic CEO John Hanke said in a statement. "This means we're even closer to an AR platform that will unlock the ability for any developer to make content for current and future AR hardware."
Microsoft has been exploring its own world-mapping AR through phone games like digital mapping of reality follows a similar path.that future evolutions of could use, while Google is building out AR through its and tools, while Facebook is , too. Magic Leap's vision of a
6D.ai has been working on impressive demos of its AR tech that the company has shared online and Niantic looks like it's planning to use these tools to build out a deeper multiplayer AR world map that layers onto our existing one in a lot greater detail. These are exactly the types of things that need to be built before a true killer AR headset arrives.