More and more people are catching onto the idea that augmented reality is offering some exciting new ideas for home design. For anyone who might not have been paying much attention to the blossoming boom of virtual reality and related technologies, augmented reality (commonly abbreviated “AR”) is just a little bit different. It involves using a device to look through a screen at a real subject – say, the table right in front of you – and seeing, on the screen, a digital something or other imposed on that real background. The easiest example is actually the smash 2016 mobile gaming hit Pokémon GO, which brought AR to the masses even before Google and Apple announced major AR development systems in 2017. In this game, as you may know, you can point your phone at the aforementioned table and see your favorite little Pokémon as if they’re actually standing there.
While Pokémon GO introduced many of us to AR, however, the technology isn’t just for gaming. It can be used for a wide range of additional purposes, and home construction and design are among them. Once you read up a little bit on the subject, you can start to imagine all kinds of different ways AR can be of service in this regard. But these are three ways in particular you should expect AR to change the way you go about designing and decorating home spaces.
1. Sampling Furniture
If there’s one AR-related home design function that’s just about gone viral, it’s the ability to sample furniture through tech devices. IKEA more or less started the trend with its IKEA Place app, but there are now others too, and it’s beginning to seem as if most major furniture and home décor stores will ultimately get in on it. The idea is that through these apps you can browse furniture the same way you would ordinarily online. Except, instead of simply looking at photos of a given couch, chair, table, etc., or seeing it in a sample room, you can select it and virtually place it in your home via AR. Naturally you can’t feel it or test it out physically this way, but from a pure design standpoint AR gives you everything you need. You can see your room as if the piece in question has already been installed, and make decisions accordingly.
2. Arranging The Garden
We don’t see too much about AR and gardening or yard design, but we can actually get a little bit of a feel for how wonderful outdoor simulations can be from virtual gaming. Plenty of prominent VR games present lush, gorgeous outdoor landscapes. Perhaps most impressively, the prominent slot machine game online, Gonzo’s Quest, has also been adapted to VR and made interesting largely through the same landscapes. One Canada-based game site called the game as much of a storybook adventure as a prize machine, and that adventure comes to life largely through the greenery and flora that surround you in the virtual environment. And if we see that even something like a slot arcade can be turned into a wonderful visual through mixed reality, it follows that similar simulations of plant life can also be used in AR in a similar fashion to furniture. It could well be that we’ll soon be able to landscape entire yards virtually and lo
ok through our devices at lush, well-kept garden areas as design blueprints.
3. Measuring Spaces
It’s not quite as flashy, but augmented reality is also proving useful for measuring spaces and getting a better idea for the layout of a given room – or an individual wall, doorway, etc. Basically, AR can measure a room without a tape measure, giving you perfectly accurate numbers for the distance between any two points, vertically, horizontally, along an edge, or whatever else. As with the aforementioned furniture apps there are a few different programs that can already do this, and they’re likely only going to become more sophisticated (though as mentioned they’re already accurate). Particularly if you’re having a home built, building an addition, or moving into an empty home, this sort of measuring tool is going to be incredibly useful as a sort of foundation for design efforts.