Augmented reality startup 6D.ai is now accepting applicants for the closed beta of its 6D SDK.
While operating in the background on a smartphone, the computer vision platform captures a dense 3D mesh in real time using just the device's camera (such a feat typically requires a depth sensor).
The environmental mapping capabilities of the 6D SDK could lay the foundation for persistent, multi-user augmented reality experiences. Whereas ARKit and ARCore facilitate anchoring objects in the user's immediate vicinity, the 6D SDK will allow app developers to place "persistent" objects at world scale, with multiple users viewing the content in the same space.
"We are working to get something out into developers hands as fast as possible. It won't have all the features or documentation or robustness of a commercial release, but, hopefully, it will let developers start to experiment in parallel with giving us the feedback to ensure our priorities are aligned with what people really want to see first vs. later, not what we imagine they might want," said 6D.ai CEO Matt Miesnieks in an email to Next Reality.
"We want to work with friendly, patient and experienced developers who know what they want to build, and can support us by working together to figure out the future of AR."
Interested developers can sign-up for the closed beta at 6D.ai's website.
"We've had so many people ask to be notified when we go live and who wanted to be first in line, we needed to create a way to collect all their details," said Miesnieks. "We will release the beta in small numbers to batches of people on the list, and work with them to ensure any early glitches or gaps are addressed before we release to the next batch. The size of the batches will depend on how much support people need, which, as this is an emerging technology in an emerging market, we just can't know for sure."
The company's technology has already drawn interest from Apple CEO and noted AR proponent Tim Cook, who is shown in a photo on the startup's website examining a prototype of the technology standing next to 6D.ai co-founder Victor Prisacariu. Miesnieks declined to disclose the details of their private conversation with Cook.
Miesnieks is also a partner at Super Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in AR technology. He and Super Ventures co-founder and managing partner (and NR50 member) Ori Inbar are among the most vocal proponents of the AR Cloud, the still theoretical shared map of the world that 6D.ai is hoping to construct.
"Don't get me wrong, the ARKit release today is the best thing that happened to the AR industry, but massive adoption of AR apps will take more than that. It will happen with the AR Cloud — when AR experiences persist in the real world across space, time, and devices," wrote Inbar in a Medium post after the official release of ARKit. "The AR Cloud landscape spells the biggest opportunity in AR to grow a Google-size startup since Magic Leap."