If physically stepping foot into an Ikea is a panic-inducing enterprise, what with all the screaming children, the meatballs, and the furniture that claims to be much easier to assemble than it really is, then fret no longer. Moderately-priced furniture can remain at your fingertips at just a fraction of the headache, and it’s all thanks to a virtual reality kitchen showroom.
On Tuesday, the Swedish furniture giant announced the release of a pilot virtual reality app, one that it has rather literally named the IKEA VR Experience. It’ll operate on the HTC Vive by way of the game platform Steam, and Ikea notes that the app’s launch “is intended to solicit consumer feedback as IKEA continues to explore the possible implications of the technology for the home.”
The app will essentially allow redecorators and interior designers to step virtually into an IKEA kitchen, which takes things further than a previous innovation that allowed customers to experiment with augmented reality in the living room.
“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives,” said Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group. “We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them.”
With nothing more than a Vive headset, IKEA enthusiasts will be able to explore any one of three kitchen designs, and even customize them at will. Change the colors of cabinets and drawers, or even switch your perspective from that of a taller adult to a shorter child — all with the click of a button.
“We also see IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world. We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen,” says Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications. And if you’ve got improvements to share with the team, email the VR department at VRDevelopment@IKEA.com, which will make it easier for you to stay out of IKEA IRL, and limit your IKEA experience to your home.