IKEA Launches Realtime AR Furniture App for iOS
IKEA recently released its Place app for iOS 11, which allows customers to preview the store’s furnishing in-home using Apple’s ARKit functionality. But how does it perform? Could Place be the beginning of an AR deluge? WIRED reviews:
While placing a digital sofa in your living room is hardly as thrilling as playing an AR game that turns the whole room into a battlefield, Ikea Place represents one of augmented reality’s most important use cases. It will certainly improve the furniture-buying experience, and relieve some of the stress of measuring what will or won’t fit in a tight space. (Take it from someone who once sawed a sofa in half in order to fit it up a narrow New York City stairwell.) But it also has the potential to make all your future retail experiences that much less stressful.
Now, Ikea claims the 3-D furniture in Ikea Place shows up at scale with 98 percent accuracy, with true-to-life representations of the texture, fabric, lighting, and shadows. In testing the app, that held up: Digital sofas and chairs sprang to life realistically next to permanent, physical objects. Valdsgaard says much of that technological improvement comes from ARKit. Rather than using 2-D camera overlays, the app takes data from your phone’s camera sensors to map digital objects in a room. Apple calls this “world tracking,” and it helps keep a digital sofa from skittering around the room like a balloon. The furniture items also load faster than they did in the previous iteration, and don’t require any calibration on the part of the user.
“Apple has solved some technical hurdles that no one else has solved,” Valdsgaard says. “You don’t need to read a manual, you don’t need to put on special glasses. You just pull out your iPhone, scan the floor, and it already has measured for you.”