AR as a Scaling Tool for Mass-Manufactured Objects

Understanding the scale of objects to be placed within a building is an age-old problem that construction industry professionals continuously grapple with. Most interior designers and architects today base their understanding of an object's scale on virtual representations using Computer Aided Design tools, and develop their ability to read abstract representations of such objects through years of practice and iteration. For non-industry professionals however, the easiest way to understand the scale of an element is still to physically 'mock it up' on-site, using a trusty tape measure. Augmented Reality bypasses this process entirely, allowing a physical marker to stand in for a virtual object. The marker's own scale is understood by the application, and can call up a virtual representation of an object at 1:1 scale. IKEA's AR-enabled catalogue, developed by Metaio, is one such example. The IKEA app presents virtual furniture directly atop a hardcopy catalogue, and allows users to test the look and size of objects in their final intended positions, and visually check for clashes with other items. While the IKEA video focuses on the gimmicky value of this app- namely, the ability to take entertaining photos that blend the real and virtual- the practical uses of such an application for interior designers and architects are readily apparent. As more manufacturers come to appreciate AR's ability to communicate their products' scale to consumers, AR will emerge as the de-facto medium for testing and visualising mass-manufactured physical objects in their target locations.

IKEA Catalog Places Furniture
Posted 15 October 2013
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