Scaniverse allows users to scan objects in the real world and renders 3D models of the objects in the app that users can edit and share. It does this by utilising light detection and ranging (Lidar) scanning, a method that targets an object with a laser and measures the time it takes for light to reflect back to the receiver; for example, a mobile phone.
As Scaniverse requires a Lidar scanner to operate, it is currently only available on the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPad models from 2020 and 2021.
Scaniverse will remain an independent app on the App Store and Scaniverse Pro, the $17 annual subscription, will now be provided free of charge. Those who have already purchased the subscription will have it converted to a free account and will not be charged for renewal. Niantic will provide continued support for the app with updates in the future.
As part of the deal, Scaniverse founder and CEO Keith Ito will join Niantic’s AR engineering team.
"Together, we plan on taking 3D scanning to new heights by combining Niantic’s dynamic mapping with Scaniverse’s lidar reconstruction, and I could not be more excited," said Scaniverse founder and CEO Keith Ito in a blog post on the company’s website.
"Though the technology is still in its early days, we can see the outlines of a future in which anyone can effortlessly capture every memory in 3D. Over the coming months and years, we hope to build out the technology necessary to achieve this vision."
Niantic AR group project manager Kjell Bronder added: "Joining forces with Niantic, Scaniverse will make multi-OS scanning easier and more accessible to the Niantic Explorer community who contribute to this effort every day."
No doubt Niantic will deploy the Scaniverse technology in its flagship title Pokémon GO, which has accumulated over $5 billion in the five years since launch.
Niantic also has other AR works in the pipeline, such as an upcoming Pikmin game that is currently in soft launch.