Apple’s AR iPhone tools let you see your room without furniture

Renovating a room is a big undertaking, but one of the more fascinating uses for augmented reality is allowing users to preview new pieces of furniture in a room. Thanks to a new feature Apple introduced itself to the developers Last month you You don’t have to move a single item before adding a new virtual couch or coffee table to your real space.

The feature is a new Swift API called room plan using Apple’s ARKit and an iPhone or iPad with a camera and LiDAR (short for Light Detection and Ranging). The scanner can easily create detailed and accurate 3D floor plans, including features such as windows, doors and even different types of furniture, which are automatically recognized and accurately measured. Then it can cut out the furniture from your shot while leaving the room intact. When it was unveiled at WWDC 2022 last month, Apple presented the new API with a video showing what the RoomPlan API can do and how it can potentially be used in mobile apps.

Apple RoomPlan API – WWDC 2022

Using augmented reality to try out a new piece of furniture in a room before you buy it is not an entirely new idea. Ikea has been doing this for years through its mobile apps and last month the Swedish furniture manufacturer unveiled a new design tool that can generate a static image of a room in which all existing furniture is digitally erased, allowing virtual furniture to be added and moved. It was an interesting upgrade, but one that lacked the interactivity of being able to move around the emptied virtual space and view the added furniture from different angles.

With the new RoomPlan API and a few other AR tools, digitally erasing existing furniture in an interactive 3D space is apparently quite doable Russ Maschmeyercurrently developing AR and VR experiences for Shopify, recently demonstrated on Twitter.

The video shows a new augmented reality tool that Maschmeyer describes as a reset button for a room. After using a LiDAR-equipped Apple device to scan and capture images of the room, everything from furniture to carpets on the floor to vents and air conditioners on the walls can be instantly erased, leaving the interior designer’s equivalent of blanks Canvas.

The RoomPlan API was only developed to generate a simple 3D model of a room, including rough shapes that represent furniture and other objects in it. To preserve the original appearance of the captured room, with everything magically erased, Maschmeyer and his team used the scanning device’s camera to capture textures of walls and floors, which were then applied to the surfaces of the 3D model, which was placed over the existing space in real time using augmented reality. This technique occasionally required some textures obscured by furniture to be digitally patched and enhanced, but that’s functionality that may one day be built into an app and handled automatically as new Ikea creative tool does itbut with full 3D interactivity for the user.

Long gone may be the days of bringing color swatches home from the hardware store and holding them up against the wall while trying to imagine what the whole room would look like in that hue. But more importantly, the biggest promise of augmented reality could be furniture shopping without ever having to navigate Ikea’s labyrinthine showrooms again.

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