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3-D spaces, augmented reality and the transformation of interior design

Augmented reality and the changing face of shopping

Choosing furnishings to decorate a room can be a time-consuming, expensive and haphazard task. Just because a mirror, table or chair looks nice in the store doesn't necessarily mean it will fit in your front room or go with the wallpaper.

roOomy, which has offices in the U.S., the Netherlands and China, is using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality and 3-D technology to change the way people visualize homes and spaces.

Enrico Rosa, vice-president of development and global operations at roOomy, which was founded in 2010, told CNBC that the idea behind the company originated a few years ago. The idea was to develop technology that allowed users to visualize and experience pieces of furniture in their own home.

"Back then, we didn't have the benefit of AR technologies and hardware at our disposal," Rosa said. "So we developed a bespoke render engine that allowed us to convert a 2-D image, a standard 2-D image taken with a camera, into a 3-D space with a few simple measurements."

Within that 3-D space, which is displayed on a handheld device, users can undertake a host of actions. Rosa said that this ranged from removing old furniture and curtains to changing flooring and putting in completely new furniture to see how it looks.

roOomy is not the only business using this kind of technology to transform the way we view interiors and homes. Helsinki and London-based Sayduck, for example, also uses technology to place 3-D models of products on top of the camera view of a smart device.

roOomy's Rosa said that technology would help to change the way consumers behave.

"I think it's massive… if you look at the old fashioned way of shopping for these things it was very much based on trial and error." Previously, customers would have to imagine what an item would look like in a different material or whether it would even fit in a room, he said.

"Now, with this technology all of that just disappears. You can do it all in your house — you can look at the entire range of that sofa and all of its different materials and colors in your own space, size and all."

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