Niantic acquires Escher Reality, an AR technology industry startup

Today Niantic announced the acquisition of Escher Reality and welcomed the talented team led by Escher’s co-founders Ross Finman and Diana Hu to the company.

Escher Reality is an Augmented Reality company from Sunnyvale, California, founded in 2016 and focused on one thing: providing a backend for the Agumented reality data. 

Escher Reality has created a number of pioneering technological solutions, including:

  • persistent storage for AR objects in the real world – yes, you read that right
  • markerless 3-D mapping of AR objects to real world
  • multi user, multi device AR experience synchronization

“Think of us more as the backend for augmented reality,” says Finman. “What we offer is the cross-platform, multiuser and persistent experiences — so those are three things that Apple and ARKit doesn’t do. So if you want to do any type of shared AR experience you need to connect the two different devices together — so then that’s what we offer… There’s a lot of computer vision problems associated with that.” – from a 2017 TechCrunch interview.

In the same interview, Finman shared this:

Consider ARKit as step one, we’re steps two and three.

This acquisition of Escher Reality is very exciting for a number of reasons:

  • ER’s persistent storage technology enables features that we have never seen in AR before, like finding objects and Pokemon hidden in actual terrain. Imagine this, but in Augmented Reality:
Credits /u/Solid_Snark, via /r/pokemongo, link to OP
  • ER’s markerless detection is based on computer vision and not bound to a specific set of device capabilities, enabling potentially every device to use the new features

This is an example of their multi user shared AR experience:

We strongly advise to watch Ross Finman (Escher Reality) pitch from the Startup Pitch Track at AWE USA 2017 – the largest conference for AR+VR in Santa Clara, California May 31- June 2, 2017:

The details of the deal are unknown, but we know that the ER team is six people and that they’ve last reported being in Seed investment phase. Escher Reality has also graduated from Y Combinator’s summer startup program last year.

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