Niantic is introducing a new augmented reality feature to Pokemon Go.
Called “reality blending”, it’s based on the AR technique known as occlusion, which uses both hardware and software to map an environment, identify the shape and depth of real-world objects, and allow those objects to obscure parts of Pokemon or let them hide behind environmental fixtures like trees. Here’s how Niantic product manager Kjell Bronder explained it in a blog post:
“In June, we’ll start rolling out a new beta feature in Pokemon Go called Reality Blending that will let your Buddy Pokemon better interact with the real world. A Pokémon will be able to hide behind an actual object or be partially behind a tree or table blocking its path, just like how it would appear in the real world.”
You can see an older demo of Niantic’s reality blending tech here:
Niantic is also allowing Pokemon Go players to participate in “PokeStop Scanning”, where they’ll contribute to building 3D maps of PokeStops and Gyms by recording a stream of images with their phones. “Techniques such as blurring potentially recognisable objects like faces or license plates are automatically applied to information that trainers choose to send”, Niantic explained.
Niantic claimed it will not collect or store any personal data in connection with the information – and it is not tied to specific player accounts.
Its new reality blending feature will initially roll out to a limited number of Pokemon Go players who are at the max level of 40 and use a Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 3, or Google Pixel 4. More players and eligible devices will be added in the near future.