IKEA introduces AI-powered interactive design to shoppers

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Today IKEA is launching a new AI-powered interactive design called IKEA Kreativ for IKEA.com and the IKEA app. With the new feature, US shoppers can design and visualize their own digitally furnished living spaces on their smartphones instead of driving to a physical store where they are likely to be distracted by a warehouse labyrinth of showrooms, blue shops. bags and swedish meatballs.

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The IKEA Kreativ feature is currently available on iPhones and iOS devices with LiDAR, as well as desktops. It will arrive on Android devices this summer. AI (artificial intelligence) is expected to be launched in other countries in September, however there are no exact launch dates.

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With IKEA Kreativ, the company continues to take steps towards digital transformation. According to IKEA, this is the retail industry’s first full-featured mixed reality design experience for realistic and accurate interior design that bridges the gap between e-commerce and the shopper’s in-store journey.

Virtual home design platforms are not new. In fact, the Swedish retailer was one of the first furniture companies to ride the augmented reality wave in 2017. IKEA Place Appendix. The app works with Apple’s ARKit, allowing customers to scan a room and place a chair, bed, etc. from IKEA in it. There is also visual search technology which recommends similar furniture when a user scans an item that already exists in their home. Amazon, Wayfair, Target, The Home Depot, Overstock, Houzz, and more have adopted AR apps to help customers design a grocery room.

But IKEA Place doesn’t let you do much. Basically, it’s similar to Amazon’s “View in Your Room” feature in that it’s designed to see how furniture would look in a room when viewed through your phone’s camera. However, it can still be useful, which is why IKEA says users will still be able to use the standalone IKEA Place app along with the updated IKEA app.

IKEA Kreativ captures the wide-angle 3D projection and allows the buyer to design the entire space from head to toe. It uses spatial computing, machine learning and 3D mixed reality technologies developed by Silicon Valley artificial intelligence specialists Geomagical Labs, which Ingka Group acquired in 2020. This feature uses similar artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies used in self-driving cars, such as artificial intelligence neural networks. which have been trained to recognize objects and geometry of interior spaces, stereo vision algorithms for viewing in 3D, computational photography algorithms, and mixed reality 3D graphics.

Clients can design their own space or choose from over 50 3D showrooms, which can be either fully furnished, semi-furnished or empty. In addition, IKEA Kreativ can erase existing furniture from the image so you can start from scratch in an already existing space. Until now, there is no technology in which furniture could disappear in real life with one touch. But it would be nice…

After testing the beta feature, we found that the room scanning steps took about two minutes, and then another five minutes to prepare and upload your room image. A traditional AR experience like IKEA Place is faster but less realistic.

The first step uses the IKEA Kreative Scene Scanner, where the user needs to get the widest view of the room using the smartphone’s camera. The app prompts you to step back and center your mobile device, then point the camera from left to right by rotating your wrists and holding your elbows. In this case, you need to capture the room at five points. The second step is to overlay the images on top of each other by waving your phone in a figure-eight pattern. The app then forces you to do it a second time after you take a step to the right or left.

Although we found it tedious, the results were accurate and we were able to design the room quite easily. Since it was only a beta version, there were a few glitches. For example, when opening a test directory, the application kicked us out several times. I hope this doesn’t happen at launch.

After existing furniture erased, users can start designing a blank canvas with real-scale furniture from IKEA’s full catalog, including its ergonomic home office chairs, inexpensive floor mats, and those LED wall lights you see everywhere on Instagram. Yes, that’s right – you can also digitally mount objects on walls.

Users can place multiple items as they can be stacked and moved around. Although there are more than 12,000 items in the IKEA catalog, the amount of furniture that can be placed in one design is, of course, limited.

Any items you select can then be added to your cart or saved to your IKEA account for later. It is also possible to share the finished design with friends, family or even with an interior designer at IKEA.

“We are working hard to help people imagine a better life at home by combining real technological advances with a fun and magical user experience,” said Brian Totti, CEO and founder of Geomagical Labs, in a statement. “We are very excited to share our first products and look forward to making these features even more useful and amazing in the coming years.”

Parag Parekh, Global Director of Technology at IKEA and Chief Digital Officer of Ingka Group, added: “Ingka Group is committed to helping people create a better life at home, and we are constantly striving to add value to our customer experience. both online and offline. With Geomagical Labs’ innovative, intuitive technologies and simple digital experience, we believe IKEA Kreativ will break down barriers to home shopping, empowering people to move from inspiration to reality and design their ideal home.”

IKEA Kreativ was first tested in April 2021 by one million customers and received “phenomenal” customer reviews, Parekh told TechCrunch. He also said that there is still a lot of work to be done for this feature, including work on a way to change the paint color on the wall by, you know, actually taking out the brush.

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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