Niantic buys LiDAR scanning app Scaniverse to create a 3D map of the world

The software will remain on the App Store.

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Nintendo's Pokemon Go game is played on a mobile phone at Tokyo's famous Shibuya crossing on July 22, 2016. The augmented-reality (AR) game PokemonGO was released in Japan. (Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO via Getty Images

Pokémon Go developer Niantic Labs has acquired Scaniverse, the company announced on Tuesday. According to creator Keith Ito, the iOS 3D scanning app will remain available on the App Store, with all the features previously part of its $17 annual subscription now included for free. What’s more, Niantic will continue to support the software with future feature updates.

Much like its other recent acquisition, it sounds like Niantic hopes Scaniverse will help in its goal to build a 3D map of the world. As part of the deal, Ito will join the company's augmented reality engineering team. “Together, we plan on taking 3D scanning to new heights by combining Niantic’s dynamic mapping with Scaniverse’s LiDAR reconstruction,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company notes, “Scaniverse will make multi-OS scanning easier and more accessible to the Niantic Explorer community who contribute to this effort every day.” It says that will allow it to create more immersive AR experiences in Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and its upcoming games.

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