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Ikea’s new augmented reality app superimposes furniture into your empty room

The typical Ikea experience usually goes like this: You get to the showroom, everything looks so wonderful and amazing, you pretend to live in the overly-organized fake bedroom, realize you should make a list of things to buy and… crap, now you’re not quite sure how that’ll look in your apartment. So you go home with some Swedish meatballs in your belly and a new version of the year’s annual catalog.

Ikea AR appDespite what you might think was a failure of a trip, obtaining a catalog was actually a start! In addition to last year’s unveil of an augmented reality-capable catalog, Ikea now boasts a new app feature that can turn that little book into a virtual piece of furniture. The new AR can now help shoppers envision what the furniture might look like in their apartment¬†by adding the illusion of the product on top of the live view through a smartphone camera. The catalog acts as an anchor point which helps the camera detect angle, light, position, and size. The end result is not always in the right scale, but it’s helpful enough for users who just want to know whether that armchair would look good on top of their favorite rug. It’s like getting a virtual test drive for Ikea furniture, sans-assembly and transportation.

Of course, before buying, you’ll still want to measure the dimensions to ensure things will fit in there. And no, the AR app does not tell you what your mangled furniture will end up looking like should you get frustrated with the vague assembly instructions. Perfection is only a dream… or in this case, one augmented reality app away. For the most part, AR has been a kitschy piece of technology, but this Ikea integration is one of the few that seems rather useful.

Watch the video below to see a family have way too much fun with an Ikea catalog and several mobile devices.