Niantic Labs acquires Matrix Mills and looks toward the future of AR

Matrix Mills brings their 'patent-pending algorithms' and occlusion technology to Niantic Labs. It's an exciting time for the future of AR.

Augmented reality technology may not be in its infancy anymore, but it certainly has a way to go before it reaches the require cultural permeation for it to be considered “the norm.” Niantic Labs, the company behind Pokemon Go, is at the forefront of not only defining what AR looks like, but how the world interacts with it. Yesterday, Niantic announced a partnership, with London-based Matrix Mill, that will not only spur the technology itself forward, but the world’s understanding of it.

“The Matrix Mill team has come up with novel ideas that push the boundaries of what machines can process, thinking around occlusions, and seeing the world closer to the way human eyes can,” John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, said on the company’s website. “As a result of this hard work, AR experiences can feel more natural to the eye, which is a goal we have squarely in our sights.”

Niantic folding the Matrix Mill team into research and development efforts enables the company to “advance the Niantic Real World Platform.” The Niantic Real World Platform is about understanding and modeling reality so that AR feels and operates in a more believable way.

“Once we understand the ‘meaning’ of the world around us, the possibilities of what we can layer on is limitless,” Hanke wrote. “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 contextualize the presence of flowers, then it will know to make a bumblebee appear. Or, if the AR can see and contextualize a lake, it will know to make a duck appear.”

Matrix Mill, an AR and machine learning startup from London, has been dedicated to “building deep neural networks that can infer the complete 3D information about the surrounding world from one or more cameras,” according to their website. Coupling that with Niantic’s vision of what AR can bring to the world (and to gamers, especially), the future of AR looks mighty beautiful.

Managing Editor

Amanda has been meandering around the game journosphere since 2010, mostly covering indie games, culture, and industry news. These days, she talks about the business of making games through a critical cultural lens. She adores RPGs, weird narrative indie games, and strategy games that take forever to learn. Amanda is also the managing editor of SuperParent. You can find her on Twitter as @AmandaFarough or you can email her at amanda.farough@gamedaily.biz.