IKEA’s New Augmented Reality App Lets You Test Out Virtual Furniture in Your Home

IKEA
IKEA

No matter how much measuring and research you do beforehand, buying a piece of furniture without knowing what it will look like in your home is always a gamble. With its new augmented reality app, IKEA hopes to take some of the guesswork out of the process. IKEA Place features more than 2000 items in the Swedish retailer's inventory, and visualizing them in the space where you live is as easy as tapping a button.

As WIRED reports, IKEA Place is among the first apps to take advantage of Apple's ARKit, an augmented reality platform that debuted as part of iOS 11. iPhone and iPad owners with the latest update can download IKEA's new app for free and start browsing through home goods right away.

To use the tool, you must first select the product you wish to test out, whether it's a loveseat, a kitchen table, or a dresser. Then, with the camera activated, you can point your device at whichever space you want the item to fill and watch it appear on the screen in front of you.

According to IKEA, the 3D models are scaled with 98 percent accuracy. Factors that are hard to analyze from photos online, like shadows, lighting, and textures, are also depicted as they would appear in real life. So if a sofa that looks great under the lights of a store looks drab in your living room, or if a desk that seems tiny online doesn't fit inside your office, the app will let you know. It's the closest you can get to seeing how a piece of furniture complements a room without lugging it through the doorway.

IKEA isn't the first company to improve interior design with computerized images. Several hardware stores and furniture outlets offer their own AR apps. Other services like Modsy let customers pay to create full virtual models of their homes before populating them with 3D furniture. Even IKEA had a basic AR app prior to this one, but it was glitchy and not always accurate. This newest iteration aims to provide a more seamless shopping experience. And with the latest iOS update placing a greater emphasis on AR, you can expect to see more apps using the technology in the near future.

[h/t WIRED]

World’s Tiniest McDonald’s Opens in Sweden, Welcomes Bees as Customers

iStock/William Jones-Warner
iStock/William Jones-Warner

McDonald's has opened stores in an old train car, an airplane, and an oversized Happy Meal box. This new project from the corporation has many of the features of a regular restaurant—down to the posters advertising special menu items—but it's different in a major way. Instead of catering to human clientele, this miniature McDonald's is designed to attract bees.

McDonald's Sweden collaborated with the creative agency NORD DDB to build the branded beehive for World Bee Day on May 20, AdWeek reports. From the outside, the model is a replica of a McDonald's restaurant, with drive-thru windows, outdoor seating, and the golden arches presiding above it all. But instead of a counter and a tables, the interior is filled with frames where bees can build their wax. It's being billed as "the world's smallest McDonald's," but according to NORD DDB, it's still big enough to house thousands of bees.

The fast-food beehive is a nod to an initiative gaining traction at McDonald's in Sweden. Some McDonald's restaurants have installed beehives on their roofs and started replacing the grass on their properties with flowers to attract the pollinators. Global bee populations have declined at alarming rates in recent years due to pesticides, disease, and climate change, and the beehive project from McDonald's Sweden is just one creative way people are trying to give bees a boost.

This particular beehive won't be housed above a burger joint. On May 21, it was auctioned off to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

[h/t AdWeek]

This Tiny DIY Kiosk From Amazon Would Make a Great Backyard Bar—or Chicken Coop

Allwood, Amazon
Allwood, Amazon

This summer, upgrade your backyard cocktail parties with an actual backyard bar. The Allwood Retail Kiosk, first spotted by House Beautiful and available on Amazon, is designed to be a tiny store, but it can function as so much more. And most importantly, it can be assembled in a matter of hours.

Built from durable Nordic spruce, the compact building is inspired by retail kiosks in Scandinavia. The interior measures 94 square feet, and the window covers fold out into counter-like platforms for serving food and drinks. The versatile structure works as more than just a space for your small business. The seller notes on Amazon that past buyers have used the shack as a chicken coop, and it could even house cats: "I believe this could well work as a feline suite. I don't think they would complain."

The kiosk costs $3990 on Amazon, and shipping is included. Once it's been assembled, the exterior needs to be stained or painted to protect it from the elements. If you're looking for even larger structures that can be delivered, Amazon also sells tiny houses.

[h/t House Beautiful]

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