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Recently I found out from a wonderful Magnet associate, who knew my interest and background in tech, that the company had a brand new “Virtual Studio” opening in Sutton, which boasted a new age method of bringing your new kitchen ideas to live, literally in front of your eyes, and I’m not talking on paper.
Virtual Reality: (noun) The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.
Now I’ve been working in software development for ten years now, so naturally its second nature to me to get excessively excited about this kind of initiative. I got overly hyped when I received the 3D model of our desired kitchen on my phone, a day after submitting the measurements and discussing options! Complete with the ability to stand IN my kitchen and rotate my phone around with the 3D model in frame, to get an idea of what it would eventually look like (AUGMENTED REALITY).
Augmented Reality: (noun) A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view – Google Dictionary.
Over the years I’ve seen hardware and software progress from floppy disk, to CD, to digital downloads. From “fat back CRT” monitors, to projections, and now here we are in an age of virtual reality (or VR) you can use with your phones at home, and not just watch on Star Trek or at the latest developer conferences.
Bringing VR and this further advancing use of visual technology into commercial areas though, is something relatively new, and for me, VERY exciting.
So Magnet have jumped on board the tech-train to bring this modern way of shopping for your perfect kitchen to you in this innovative showroom which includes the following features:
- Bring your kitchen to life in the Digital Kitchen Display.
- Get hands on with the Kitchen Modeller and see your virtual kitchen in 3D.
- Use the Kitchen Mix and Match to find your perfect style.
- Explore our innovations & storage solutions in the Tech Lab.
The top two, of which, I’m really crazy about.
With the use of a single tablet and a wall of screen based cabinets, you can literally view, switch up, and compare the colours, styles, and finishes of your cabinet design shortlist, right there in front of you.
No more laying out the door samples next to each other on the floor or counter to check your favourites out, you can literally transfer your choices onto a preset kitchen to check out the look on a whole, in an actual “kitchen environment”.
Cracking out another tablet and donning a trusty VR headset (good old Oculus), you can then go one step further and get creative with the kitchen modeller, where you can set down your typical kitchen modules in plain box and miniature form on a special counter top, and have them transform in the world of VR into your chosen style, and in the layout you set down yourself! You can then switch up the layout to your heart’s content in real time, until you’re satisfied with an end result.
What’s also awesome is the fact that whoever you’re kitchen shopping with doesn’t have to just take your word for it that it looks great how you’ve made it, because they can view exactly what you’re seeing on screen in front of you!
This introduction of modern technology in the commercial design circuit is utterly commendable. I love it. I’m really excited to see how other high street brands might adopt these kinds of methods.
I only read recently that there have already been a number of VR Fashion shows, from Rebecca Minkoff to Balenciaga, and the fabulous Refinery29 released a series named “Fashionably Bound”, where they teamed up with Samsung to bring GEARVR owners an experience whereby they could follow a whole bunch of fashionistas, via the power of virtual reality, on “Wild 24 hour” parties and experiences.
So excited to see more of this in the future!
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