There’s no worse way to spend a weekend afternoon than tromping through a maze-like IKEA store, which is why the augmented reality features in the company’s mobile app that let you try before you buy are so useful, and now even more useful, as the app can now automatically erase your room’s existing furniture without you having to move a single piece.
So far, placing virtual copies of Swedish furniture in a room to test them out before you buy has been the most useful application of augmented reality technology we’ve come up with. But as convenient as it is, if you’re looking to completely redecorate an entire room with IKEA furniture, before reaching for the AR app, you have to physically remove the furniture you want to replace that’s already in there.
To make the virtual redecorating process even easier, IKEA’s largest store franchisee, the Ingka Group, has created a new design tool called IKEA Kreativ. This tool is powered by AI tech from a company called Geomagical Labs, which Ingka acquired a couple of years ago. Users can simply upload a series of photos of a room to the design tool available through IKEA’s website, and it will intelligently generate an image that 3D objects can interact with. But the tool is even easier to use when accessing it via a smartphone with the updated iOS IKEA app. (For now, IKEA Kreativ is limited to iPhones, but Android compatibility is en route later this Summer.)
Digitising a room with the mobile app requires a user to snap a series of guided photos to capture a panoramic image of the space, and then move their phone around in a figure-eight motion, allowing the camera to capture additional data. Unlike the augmented reality approach that allows users to see a virtual piece of furniture in a room and move around it from different angles, IKEA Kreativ produces a static image of the space. It’s less interactive, but the advantage is that users can simply click on existing furniture or accent pieces like rugs in the room and they’ll be intelligently erased and replaced with extended sections of the walls and floors, leaving a completely empty room behind if desired.
Thousands of items from IKEA’s current catalogue can then be intelligently placed in a room, where they are then automatically scaled with perspective adjustments to match the room’s angles and dimensions. Alternately, if you hate your existing furniture and the room they’re in, IKEA Kreativ also gives users access to 50 3D virtual showrooms where they can arrange products and decorative pieces until they find inspiration for their next major reno.