Ikea launches virtual reality kitchen design app

Swedish furniture chain Ikea is testing a pilot virtual reality app that allows consumers to explore kitchen designs.

The Ikea VR Experience is designed to bring the user a virtual Ikea kitchen in real-world size, the company said last week. It was developed for the HTC Vive virtual reality system on Valve’s Steam game platform, using Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games.

Wearing an HTC Vive headset, consumers can make changes to the design with a click, for example to change the colour of cabinets and drawers. They can also view the kitchen from different perspectives, which could help identify hidden dangers or possible design solutions.

“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives,” commented 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.”

Ikea’s communications IT manager Martin Enthed added: “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.”

During the pilot, which continues until August, Ikea will continuously update the virtual reality app in response to feedback and suggestions from users.

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