Ikea has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) imaging startup Geomagical Labs to help improve its virtual home visualisation tools.
Geomagical Labs, which has now been acquired by Ikea’s parent company Ingka Group for an undisclosed sum, has developed a range of tools allowing customers to “play dress up” with their homes virtually using their smart phones.
Its flagship technology allows customers to scan their rooms using their smartphone camera, then remove all the furniture and items in a digital 3D render.
With a blank 3D render of any chosen room, customers can then experiment by virtually editing the room and placing new furniture inside.
Ikea has already launched software which allows customers to do a similar thing with its own branded furniture, but Ikea Retail’s chief digital officer Barbara Martin Coppola said it acquired the company because its tech “is exceptional and groundbreaking.”
Geomagical Labs meanwhile said Ikea would ensure its tech would see the light of day and be utilised rather than being absorbed by a larger development team.
In September Ikea announced its Place app, originally launched in 2017, would now allow users to virtually fit out a whole room with furniture, give customers home furnishing tips, and even scan items of furniture and find similar items in its catalogue.
Ikeas digital transformation leader Gerry Rogers said at the time: “Sometimes we all need that little bit of inspiration that sparks new ideas”.
“That’s exactly what we want to achieve with Ikea Place. In the bigger perspective, Ikea Place is not about AR or AI. It’s about making Ikea home furnishing expertise more accessible. To do so, we are looking into the newest technologies, not for the sake of technology, but to create a better everyday life for the many people.”