IKEA's New 3D Imaging App Basically Lets You Play The Sims With Your Own Apartment


Remember when you were a wee thing in the '90s playing the Sims, building houses funded by the rosebud cheat codes and dreaming of a life that, little did you know then, you would never be able to afford in your post-college graduation economy? How in that sweet spot just before you lost your innocence accidentally killing a Sim in an outdoor pool, you felt like the master of your own fate? Now you can return to those simpler, decidedly more wholesome times with the 3D Room Planner For IKEA app, which straight up lets you plop three dimensional IKEA furniture into your apartment using augmented reality and may be the coolest thing that will ever happen to your otherwise lackluster apartment.

The app, which launched Sept. 12, recently caught everyone's attention with some mind-bending videos posted on Twitter by writer and developer Owen Williams on Wednesday. The video features the AR capacity of the app, showing how users can manipulate AR images to size and scale of any of the 2,000 items on the app to see how they would look in the setup of an already existing room. Once you have an image in place, you can save it, share it with friends (the number of pictures of couches I have sent my sister this year is Too Damn High), and even use the app to reserve the furniture to buy from a local IKEA store.

Fist-bumping my Swedish ancestors from the grave right now, y'all, because this is moderately insane. The slight bummer is that the app, while free to download, charges $9.99 for the AR features, and $19.99 for the "PRO" version, but I imagine in the grand scheme of furnishing your apartment and running the risk of buying things you ultimately don't need, this is a relatively low price to pay.

Honestly, though, it's all fun and games until someone (aka, me) tries to sit on their augmented reality RÅSKOG and then promptly ends up with a butt on the carpet.

As Williams notes, the world basically becomes your IKEA oyster — you can visualize IKEA furniture wherever you please.

"We look at the world around us and ask, how is consumer behavior changing?" said Michael Valdsgaard, the head of IKEA's Michael Valdsgaard, to Tech Crunch. "Who comes to IKEA and why, and who doesn’t? We are trying to use tech to reach as many people as we can. So far we’ve done that with three main pillars: the store, the catalog and our website. Those have formed the core of how we reach the consumers, but obviously we need to start complementing those with something else."

While the idea of placing objects in a space in augmented reality is far from new (you're doing it every other day on Snapchat and Instagram Stories), IKEA's app marks a new shift in tailoring AR toward the consumer experience, and making shopping easier and more accessible. For a company like IKEA, that still operates from massive storefronts that are occasionally difficult for consumers to access and usually take an entire day of shopping, this is a crucial step. (The meatballs and the purchasable fridge cakes also help with that whole incentive thing, though, TBH).

And IKEA isn't done pushing the boundaries of what the latest technology has to offer.

"We are also playing with VR," shared Valdsgaard with Tech Crunch. "The only problem is that people are not super comfortable with it. If you design a new kitchen and move around, it is a good use case, but AR is more approachable. But as soon as VR is mature we will have a presence in it, too. If you can project something and in the real world that is a super use case."

In other words, I'm going to be living inside of my own personal virtual reality IKEA store and completely dissociating from reality by 2020, and I'm all in.