Niantic Buys Out Scaniverse WebAR App

The AR Firm Continues to Expand Its Capabilities with the iOS-Exclusive Platform

Niantic Acquires IPhone-Exclusive Web AR Technology
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Published: August 12, 2021


Rory Greener

US augmented reality (AR) software development firm Niantic announced the acquisition of Scaniverse, a 3D rendering application exclusive to Apple iPhones which exploits Apple’s advanced Lidar scanner.

Niantic’s Unity-powered Lightship AR developer kit (ARDK) will help developers create immersive multiplayer experiences, the company announced in a recent blog post.

The acquisition of Scaniverse will benefit both firms as the partnership creates the opportunities needed for the expansion.

The advanced Niantic suite of webAR tools and services is compatible on both iPhone and Android devices.

With help from Niantic, the Scaniverse platform may soon debut on Android and its ARDK will receive improved Lidar integration.

Despite being in its beta stage, Kei Kawai, Niantic’s Vice-President of Product Management, said the ARDK will offer AR developers the “richest selection of development tools and technologies.”

What is the Scaniverse?

The Scaniverse operates similarly to Volumetric Video, where lasers and sensors from Lidar scanners create 3D-data of a real-life object.

The iOS platform builds a fully-textured 3D model from Lidar data, and users can later edit and share their creations with a range of editing tools, allowing anyone to create 3D renders.

Developers can then export the 3D models to Sketchfab, a platform to publish and share 3D virtual reality (VR) and AR content. A strong Scaniverse community is currently growing on Sktechfab and has produced amazing content.

Niantic Facing Competition

The news comes after Niantic announced it would hire Dan Morris, former Head of Developer Relations at Oculus.

Joining the San Francisco-based firm as Director of Developer Relations, Morris will facilitate communications with AR developers as the company faces competition from 8th Wall or Poplar Studios, but Niantic aims to stand out to brands with its flexible and democratised platform.

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