IKEA says its vision is to “create a better everyday life for many people”. One manifestation of that vision is the IKEA VR experience, starting with a VR Kitchen Visualiser created by building an IKEA kitchen room set in the Unreal Engine games engine, which launched in summer 2016.
A pilot project tested the technology with a sample set of 1,000 IKEA co-workers, all of whom went through a 15-minute VR experience in a bespoke kitchen from the brand’s catalogue.
The experience was published on Steam, one of the largest digital distribution platforms for PC gaming. It went viral and just three hours after its launch, users were starting to upload their own films, showing themselves in the VR kitchen, moving objects around and offering virtual companions virtual snacks.
IKEA’s VR pancake kitchen is part of an in-store pilot project that attempts to transfer knowledge to customers, aiming to teach them about useful issues such as the best-practice work triangle, waste sorting and corner storage. It also lets them make batter and fry pancakes in this virtual kitchen, with the option of multi-tasking by frying pancakes in four separate pans simultaneously.
The experience is available in selected IKEA stores in Sweden and Canada, has been published on Steam and is compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets.
IKEA Australia has created VR store tours so that audiences can walk around the shops in virtual reality. The brand also released IKEA Place with Apple, an ARKit that can track and set products in space, with an extremely good size accuracy.
IKEA is also exploring virtual prototyping – developing and prototyping products in a digital 3D environment, enabling co-workers to test a number of versions of the same product early in the development without having to build a physical prototype.
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