Designing Spaces in VR with TrueScale

This interior design app lets you create, change and decorate virtual spaces with real-world items.

TrueScale is a new interior design tool that simultaneously creates 2D floor plans, 3D mockups, and full room-scale environments in VR. Developed in partnership between Vive Studios and the developers at Immersion.

The idea behind TrueScale is to let anyone design their own virtual space—whether it’s an individual room, office space, or an entire
house—in mere minutes, and then experience them first-hand in real scale in VR.

The application uses Wayfair’s 3D model API, which means that you can use an extensive catalog of actual furniture and décor items to populate your virtual spaces realistically. As the user creates a floor plan, the app automatically generates a replicated 3D environment as a dollhouse-type model. Users can then put themselves inside their newly created space to gain a true
sense of scale.

The interface lets users build rooms, customize floor patterns and paint colors, configure windows and doors, and even furnish their designs from an extensive library of over 40,000 3D models supplied by Wayfair—the largest online furniture retailer in the US. HTC Vive’s room-scale technology enables the freedom to continue making changes in real-time while walking around and exploring the design space.

“We’ve created an app that enables designers, their clients, and even the average homeowner to conceptualize the perfect room setup for living and work spaces,” said Executive Director of Content for Vive Studios Chris Chin. “Using VR in this stage of the design process allows the user to gain a full picture of the final design as opposed to relying on imagination and blueprints. It gives you a sense of depth that cannot be achieved through traditional paper or graphics renders.”

“With global revenue from VR content forecast to be worth up to $14 billion by 2020, it is clear that more and more brands are now looking at VR as a way to bring their offering to life, and this is is transforming how they can engage their customers with new immersive experiences,” CEO of Immersion Piotr Baczyński said.

This is an ideal tool for optimizing the layout of large spaces such as open-plan offices, but as more people begin to use VR applications more confidently it is easy to see how it could be used by consumers to help them make home improvement decisions and even to shop directly for items that they tried out in those virtual spaces.

According to Immersion, the tool has so far proved most popular with construction clients, as they are able to better communicate their plans at every stage of the design process with colleagues and clients around the world, drastically reducing the need for changes and redesigns. They are now working to bring enhanced communication and virtual meeting capabilities to the platform.

The next step is now to take this concept outside and adapt the tool for landscaping and garden design. Immersion is currently working with a German company to enable similar capabilities in allowing users to picture how their garden will look—particularly useful as you would be able to envisage seasonal variations and how different elements would look together as different plants grew, flowered and matured.

Immersion is also interested in incorporating scanning capabilities—which are inbuilt in most modern smartphones—into the application so that users would be able to accurately recreate their real-world environments in VR, before proceeding to populate and manipulate them at scale, which opens up even more interesting creative possibilities.

Although the technology is still at a relatively early stage, as more 3D model libraries and catalogs get incorporated into VR tools it will surely open up a whole world of possibilities for people planning to renovate or even just refresh their living and working spaces—both virtual and real.

The app is available for download on Viveport and Steam for $19.99.

About the Scout

Alice Bonasio

Alice Bonasio runs the Tech Trends blog and contributes to Ars Technica, Quartz, Newsweek, The Next Web, and others. She is also writing VRgins, a book about sex and relationships in the virtual age. She lives in the UK.

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