OffBeat

Ikea's new augmented reality app lets you preview digital furniture in your physical house

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Augmented reality may be the most interesting thing ever to happen to the Ikea catalog.

With the 2014 Ikea catalog app, not only can you preview Ikea’s furniture in 3D, but for the first time you’ll be able to use your smartphones to see exactly how the digital items will look in your home.

The appeal of something like this should be pretty clear. Rather than imagine how an object will look in a space, Ikea shoppers can display it in real time. It’s the sort of thing that only augmented reality can let you do, and something that few furniture retailers besides Ikea would have the clout to attempt.

ikea-preview

Above: It works!

While the feature does work largely as Ikea advertises, using it takes a bit of getting used to. Likewise the augmented reality portion of the catalog had a habit of crashing the app when I tested it. If you’re interested in trying it out, I’d recommend doing it with the printed catalog, not the online version.

Another significant drawback with the functionality is that it only applies to a few select items, not the entire catalog. Hopefully, this is something Ikea will improve with time.