Many applications for smartphone have been developed in the last years to allow people to furnish their house using augmented reality.
The app I have tried is the IKEA Catalog. It allows the user to choose several furnishings from their catalog and collocate them wherever he wants in the framed room using the smartphone camera.
The added objects have the same dimension they have in reality and they are automatically scaled accordingly to the dimension of the room (it’s not possible for the user to resize them manually). In this way everyone, before buying a couch or a new table, can try with a good precision if it will fit in the space and, most important thing, he will easily understand if the object is in tune with the style of the room.
The models can be moved by the user, they can be rotated and obviously their size changes according to the new position. More than an object can be placed at the same time so it’s also possible to completely furnish an empty room too.
Every detail of the model and of the texture is perfect and I was surprised in realizing how the shadows were realistic. The amazing quality of the rendering makes distinguish the real from the virtual furniture tough for me after having spent some minutes adding more and more objects into the room.
The usage of augmented reality to furnish indoor spaces could be improved in the future to support a better customization of the room. As an example, it would be great to color the walls, change the pattern of the floor and add different types of decorations. Another way to improve the experience would be bringing this kind of applications in wearable objects like glasses that would make the user free from watching everything in the limited size of the smartphone screen.
Later, using this application, I have also tried to place some stuff in weird places, so I positioned a couch in the middle of the road in front of my house. Obviously, this is not the purpose of the app, however, after a longer loading time in rendering the size, caused probably by the utilization in open spaces, the object was well represented.
This test is not so impressive because hardly ever someone will have the necessity to put tables and chairs in the middle of a street, but, considering the overall good results, this same technology could be applied in other apps to obtain more useful outcomes. For example, it could be used to recreate past situations and historical events happened in a well-defined place.
I think that smartphone applications using augmented reality will be used more and more in the next years because they can be used in many fields, from furnishing your house to have fun with your friends. Furthermore, with the restless release of more powerful smartphones every year, the quality of the renderings and the quality of the experience will significantly improve, increasing the appeal of these apps.