Heimtextil Blog der Messe Frankfurt
...and what will be possible in the future?

This year the FINEST INTERIOR AWARD is concerned with the challenging tension between different realities. So that we all have a basic understanding of the subject area, we shall examine in this article the definition of the term, the current situation and the future possibilities for augmented reality.

Where does the term augmented reality come from and what does it stand for?
‘Augment’ comes from the Latin and means ‘increase/growth’. In the technical sense, it’s about increased (augmented) reality: more specifically, using technical devices to present information visually.

As early as the sixties, people were working intensively on systems of this kind, but the mobile version is still in its infancy (though developing rapidly).

In contrast to the more familiar virtual reality, augmented reality does not create a completely new world. Reality is simply augmented by means of computer-generated technology.

How do we perceive augmented reality?
Even if the term augmented reality, in short AR, may not seem familiar to everyone, we will all have encountered it somewhere already. Here’s the simplest of examples: in televised broadcasts of ski jumping and football games, commentators frequently insert guide or distance lines into a still image for easier understanding/better illustration, before the broadcast continues playing/running.

Augmented reality can also be found on Smartphones that have the necessary features to support it: with special Apps, such as the one that the furniture chain IKEA brought out back in 2013, scanned objects can be projected into our own flats and their colours can be changed at will.

The current situation
Smartphones are currently the most common AR terminal device, but it is also worth mentioning the development of AR glasses such as Microsoft’s HoloLens. The glasses are used for research rather than productive purposes at the moment, but they probably have more potential than AR on a tablet. Imagine, for example, a worker who is carrying out maintenance procedures on a machine in an industrial environment. He needs both hands, but would like to have easy access to information on sources of error and repair measures.

Having said that, there is still a need for considerable improvement in the feel of AR devices: for example, the glasses need to be much lighter and feel much more comfortable to wear, if they are to be suitable for daily use and in the workplace.

It has now become possible to create 3D models from architectural drawings – a dream for every future homeowner – because augmented reality can convey more emotional impressions than a 2D plan or a miniature model. However, here more precise work needs to be done on superimposing virtual views of buildings onto the real environment. AR could then also function as a tool for buildings control in the future.

Using readily available operating tools, such as a Smartphone App that is simple to control, the layperson can gain a deeper awareness of interior design, leading to a greater appreciation of what interior design and the profession entails. Qualified professionals are in no way superfluous, quite the opposite: the aim should be to work on projects hand in hand with customers and to take counterparts’ requirements and skills seriously.

What will be possible in the future?
At the moment, technology is still facing a few hurdles which require a lot of research time. The accuracy of systems in terms of position detection is still inadequate, as is image tracking when moving, and the quality of information. In other words: how helpful is the information displayed?

What is possible and what can be imagined with these applications is incalculable. In future, anyone who wants to change their interior furnishings will be able to be more actively involved in the design and even have a go at it themselves.

In our next post, you will find out exactly what virtual reality is.

FINEST INTERIOR AWARDThe FINEST INTERIOR AWARD was created to honour the work of architects, interior architects and interior decorators and take account of the growing demand for individual and professional contract furnishing. The communicative focal point of this year’s FINEST INTERIOR AWARD is the digitalisation of reality. What impact are virtual reality and augmented reality having on architecture, interior architecture and interior decoration? What changes do they imply for the job descriptions of these professions? And what benefits are they likely to have for consumers? The FINEST INTEROR AWARD will tackle these and other interesting questions in its guest commentaries under the motto ‘What’s real?’.
The award will be presented on the eve of Heimtextil in Frankfurt. During the fair, there will be an information featuring the winners in the foyer of Hall 4.0.


Photo: Shutterstock / Zapp2Photo

Stefan Jakob

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