You can’t exactly take your furniture for a test drive (not yet, at least), but the next best thing just may be the introduction of augmented reality to a growing number of home improvement platforms. The latest to jump on the AR bandwagon is Build.com, an exclusively online home retailer that is not opting for a brick-and-mortar experience, but just may be the next best thing. With “In-Home Preview,” the company is leveraging Apple’s ARKit development platform, and promises to “take users beyond just visualizing how a product will look in their home.” In fact, folks can now interact (virtually, of course) with various appliances, turning a faucet on and off, moving handles, and more.
It’s a pretty nifty feature that allows you to remodel your home with a bit more information than you might’ve had previously. For example, if you’re looking to revamp your kitchen, you can scroll through Build’s iOS app, and select a faucet that best matches your existing appliances. But not only will you be able to “see” what it looks like once installed, you’ll also be able to play around with it, adjusting the water temperature (if you turn it to hot, you’ll see steam), changing water flow and spray patterns, and more.
Similarly, those hoping to install new lights can check out various lighting fixtures, rotate them 360 degrees, or even move them up and down and down by virtually adjusting a chain. And if you want to see how you would switch these lights on and off, you can do that too from within the app.
Different finishes can also be applied to suit various aesthetics, and as it stands, the AR experience includes products from Delta Faucet, Kichler, Hansgrohe, Progress Lighting, Miseno, and Park Harbor.
“Customers have always told us how important it is to ‘touch and feel’ products before making a purchase. Now, we have a way to bridge that physical world with the digital,” said Dan Davis, Build.com’s chief technology officer. “Our website offers more than 800,000 products and we are aiming to have over a 1,000 available in the ‘In-Home Preview’ feature.”
The Build.com app is now available for the iPhone and iPad. You’ll need to have iOS 11 and have an iPhone 6s or newer model in order to take advantage of the AR functionality. The Android Build.com app does not currently support AR, but it is rumored to arrive as early as 2018.