Wizards Unite: Wearable AR Technology

WUearable tech e1551749538475

Technology develops faster than we, as users, can keep up with. But with Wizards Unite coming up, we are focusing on some of the possibilities ahead. This Augmented Reality game is full of possibilities. Today we will be focusing on something Niantic CEO John Hanke mentioned in his 2019 MWC keynote: Wearable technology.

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Will Augmented Reality become our new reality?

We’ve heard a lot about Niantic’s ideas for new technology lately from John Hanke. Not just related to their games, but also a few mentions on how it could become part of our normal, daily life.

Last year, the company made a huge $40M deal with Samsung. They also reportedly got $245M in funding through their 2019 IPO. An IPO happens when a company offers shares to the market for the first time.

All this influx of cash (as well as the Niantic¬īs previous capital) seems to have gone into buying companies that were specializing in certain aspects of technological developments, allowing Niantic free access to this new technology and to the teams behind them.

Niantic Goes Shopping

social shopping niantic

These are just a few of Niantic’s recent acquisitions:

  • Evertoon. This app allows users to make short, personalized films. Niantic expressed interest in this app as a way to help build social systems. It has repeatedly been stated by the company that they are very interested in fostering social interactions between their players. John Hanke mentioned he loved Pok√©mo.n GO conventions, and wanted more of that connection in their games.
  • Escher Reality. This company specialized in augmented reality, focusing on building persistent, cross platform, multi-user experiences. This kind of experience would fit perfectly with Niantic’s multiplayer platforms, including Codename NEON and Codename Tonehenge.
  • Matrix Mill. This was a computer vision and machine learning company. The Matrix Mill team focused on perfecting AR occlusion by building deep neural networks that can infer 3D information about the surrounding world. This acquisition significantly advances Niantic’s efforts to deliver planet-scale AR and provide even more realistic AR experiences.
  • Seismic Games. Composed of industry veterans from EA/Pandemic and Activision, this acquisition significantly accelerates their ability to deliver all new AR experiences that continue to bridge the physical and digital worlds.
  • DigiLens. This was a move made alongside Mitsubishi Chemical’s Diamond Edge Ventures. The investment will help DigiLens develop holographic waveguide displays for augmented reality applications.

Let your imagination run wild: WUerables

Mobile Devices

Harry Potter Wizards Unite Beta

Our mobile phones are the one basic thing we will need to play Wizards Unite. Depending on which device you have, the experience will be slightly different. Not all mobiles are created equal.

But this is just the beginning. Assuming Niantic launches Wizards Unite this summer (we believe you, Kevin Tsujihara!), the game’s download requirements should be similar to those for Pok√©mon GO.

But once 5G becomes a thing, and new networks allow for low latency, everything will change. With the possibility of multiplayer platforms, we could enter a whole new level of AR. And we will probably need to splurge on new phones, too. They are, after all, our little window into Wizards Unite.

Voice Activated AR

voice activated tech

Ok, so this is not really a wearable. It would work through our device,  using its microphone.

But if they add voice recognition and voice activation to Wizards Unite, that could mean actually having to chant a spell along with the correct wand movement (or finger trace on the screen). If you don’t say Wingardium Leviosa correctly, you just might not get that magical artifact you’ve been searching for…Words are, after all, an important part of performing magic in the Potterverse.

And it would make the immersive experience so much better!


apple watch

There are many different types of SmartWatches in the market, but we will probably have to go high-end here, at least at first.

Now a smartwatch capable of tracing your hand movements could mean playing the game with any wand would feel magical. We would just perform the specific wand movement for each situation with our arm, and the watch would send the information to the phone. It would almost be like performing magic, but with a tiny Muggle cheat.

Smart Glasses

intel vaunt google glass

This tech has come a long way, and still has a long way to go. But we’re getting there.

The first Google Glasses weren’t just expensive. They were big, and odd, and chunky. Not really wearable.

But things are changing, starting with Intel’s Vaunt. These new Smart Glasses (the ones on the right in the picture above) are much more discreet and will probably allow you to still feel like a human when wearing them.

And when it comes to Wizards Unite, just imagine keeping your phone in your pocket and using those Glasses to see AR everywhere. That would be a real immersive experience. Add to that a wand if you’re not on the shy side of Potterheads and you could be a real wizard for a while! If they offer different models, I’d go straight for the round, Harry Potter-style glasses for sure.

And these are not the only wearables Smart Glasses in the works, although they are certainly the most discreet. Microsoft is working on their own Hololens. As amazing as the tech looks in the image, though, I don’t think I’d wear those out on the street. Would you?


Samsung¬īs S Pen

s pen

The S pen, compatible with new Samsung devices, could be an amazing addition to WU. This pen has a Bluetooth connection that allows the phone to track its movements. Can any of you think of a better use for the S pen than as a magic wand when casting spells on Wizards Unite? Just swish and flick, and fantastic things will just come flying your way!

Compatible Wands

Harry potter wands

So, this might be a bit of a stretch at first. But Potterheads love their shinies, and Warner Bros. and Niantic love their green, so they might be willing to develop something just for us if we’re willing to pay for it.

And the technology already exists, just look at the S pen. Considering Niantic’s deal with Samsung, maybe they could share that technology and put them straight into compatible wands. 12 inches, ash, with a Bluetooth core. Ollivander’s could have a whole new line of wands coming soon!

So what do you think? And what would you like to see? Leave us a comment here or pop on over to the Community Forum for a chat!

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