Augmented Reality: Changing Home Design

Augmented Reality: Changing Home Design

Vivian Kim
May 3, 2011

During my search for new and creative ways to decorate my apartment, I came across an interesting iPhone app by Panasonic that gives you a 3D view of what their television sets would look like in your actual space using augmented reality. This got me thinking: could augmented reality potentially change the way we design for our homes?

It can be difficult to visualize what a piece of furniture will look like in your home. For example, if you've ever thought about purchasing a new TV for your living room, it's not always easy to imagine what size would fit best in your space. A low tech solution would be to take the actual measurements of the TV you want and find a physical way to represent the space it would take up, maybe by drawing it out on your wall or even taping up some pieces of paper so you could get an idea of its actual size. Recently I came across the Panasonic AR Simulator iPhone app, which uses augmented reality to display 3D objects through your iPhone's camera. On my iPhone's screen I was able to see what an actual 50" television set would look like in my living room, at various angles. I was even able to move the TV and move behind it. Although the app is specifically made for Panasonic TVs, it's surprisingly innovative. It seems like such a great way to be able to truly visualize furniture (and other things like electronics and appliances) in a number of spaces in the home.

Panasonic's app got me thinking about what it'd be like if more products were available in 3D augmented reality form and how it could potentially change the way we decorate, design and furnish our homes. Being able to "see" a piece of furniture in its exact dimensions (not to mention being able to manipulate it in real time) felt like something new and exciting. It could be an extremely useful tool for a store like furniture giant Ikea, allowing you to see what a piece of furniture would physically look like in your space before you make your purchase.

Being able to physically see what a 50" TV would look like in my living room on my iPhone's screen (to scale and at multiple angles) really got me excited to see what could come in the future. Will augmented reality be the new way to online shop and interact with virtual goods? We'll soon find out.

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