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AR, Mil ML: The IKEA app lets you ditch and replace your furniture

in great shape , IKEA Creative, the retailer’s new AR app.

Ikea

You may have seen augmented reality (AR) mobile apps that allow you to place 3D models of furniture in your home’s camera view, but a new app from IKEA takes that idea to a whole new level with the help of machine learning (ML). will take over. ,

Called IKEA Creative, the app allows you to take an accurate 3D scan of your room, then remove existing furniture items or clutter by replacing them with IKEA products you want to see in the space.

The delete-a-piece-of-furniture capability is reminiscent of the Google Pixel 6’s Magic Eraser for smartphone photos and iOS 16’s upcoming “Lift Subject from Background” features. Those features are powered by similar AI/ML technology.

For now, the app will only be available on iOS devices (and the web). But IKEA is planning to release an Android version in the next few months. iPhones and iPads with lidar sensors will work best, but other iOS devices are supported as well.

IKEA Creative is built on machine learning and spatial imaging technologies developed by Geomagical Labs, an AI company acquired by IKEA’s holding company, Ingka Group.

This is the kind of thing that could show an early indication of what future AR products could do with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence. But as with most early attempts, there are some limitations.

First, the app has to start with a somewhat laborious, multi-step room-scanning process that involves pointing your phone around the room and moving it in figure-eight motions. The process can take minutes instead of seconds.

With lidar and recent developments in ARKit, Apple has greatly reduced this scanning time on some devices for most basic and general AR applications, but the process is more involved for this app.

There is also another notable limitation. You may already be familiar with IKEA Places, an existing app that lets you place furniture in your home using your phone’s camera view. That app essentially allowed you to move around placed furniture and see it as if it were right there in front of you. IKEA Creative can’t do that. Rather, it places the furniture inside static images. Since functionality is slightly different, the IKEA Place app will remain available.

IKEA is far from the only retail company to offer AR furniture placement apps. Amazon, Target, and others have released AR apps, and on Thursday Walmart announced an app release that provides the feature.

While Google and Apple have put a lot of work into creating hardware and software features as well as SDKs for app-makers to facilitate mobile AR experiences, not that many killer apps for smartphone AR have emerged.

This may be because many high-potential ideas will be more appealing with comfortable AR glasses instead of smartphone screens, and the market has yet to see mainstream, high-quality AR glasses. Apple, Google, Amazon, and other big tech companies are all developing mixed reality headsets that could take these types of AR apps to new heights of popularity, but none seem close to being released.

Nonetheless, these shopping apps have emerged as one of the more popular uses of smartphone AR.

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