One of the greatest things about going to IKEA is being able to walk through all the kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and offices set ups. You get to experience what it would be like to be in that space. Now, IKEA is looking to bring that consumer experience into the comfort of your home via virtual reality. We loaded it up in our HTC Vive and will walk you through everything you can do in it so far.
When you load up the IKEA VR Experience, you'll find yourself standing in a kitchen, and if you have ever been to an actual IKEA store, you'll notice how similar it is to the real thing. The kitchen is complete with wood finished cabinets, a double sink, an island, a stove, and a little outdoor patio-like area featuring some foliage for all you green thumbs out there.
Walk around or teleport!
You heard me right, teleport. By pointing your Vive controller at the tile on the ground, you can highlight a section of tile, press the trigger button and like magic you will appear in that new spot! Of course, this is the HTC Vive we are talking about, so feel free to walk around the kitchen as well! You know, with your legs.
Open the drawers
If you point one of your Vive controllers at the other one, you will notice a menu with four icons. If you select the hand icon, you will be able to interact with the kitchen around you! You can open certain drawers and grab anything that has a white border around it like these vegetables (pictured above on the right). Once you have hovered over the object you want to interact with — like the drawer in the top right picture — you can see that the white border will turn yellow. Simply press the trigger button, and you will interact with the object.
To grab the vegetables on the counter, it's the same process, except you have to keep holding down the trigger button in order hold them in your "hand." We opted to put these guys in the compost and cook something a little more traditional Swedish.
You can cook Swedish meatballs!
It wouldn't be a trip to IKEA without Swedish meatballs. You can open the drawers underneath the stove top, and if you open the bottom drawer you'll see a frying pan you can grab. If you put that pan on the stove, and then turn on the stove top you can have some real fun.
Grab the meatballs — or vegetable balls if you're VR vegetarian — dump them in that pan and start cooking! It's cool to stand in front of the stove and look around you to see how much space you have between you and the island. It truly gives you the sense of being in an IKEA store.
See the kitchen through the eyes of a child, or a giant!
One of the more interesting part of this VR experience is the ability to change your visual perspective to that of a child — with a height of 3 feet and 3 inches — or to that of a taller adult measuring 6 feet and 7 inches. It's surprisingly a lot of fun to walk around the kitchen this way and see how a change in perspective changes. If you're a parent or planning a family, you may want to know just how many cupboards and drawers your child could get into, making this a very compelling feature.
All the colors of the rainbow
Okay, that's a huge exaggeration, but you can switch the cupboards between three different finishes, and you will even notice the countertops change as well. This doesn't alter the layout of the kitchen in any way and for some reason you can't interact with anything in the room when you modify the color, so keep that in mind.
So what's the real takeaway from all this?
IKEA has stated this a pilot project, which they hope will provide constructive user feedback so they can improve and build out the experience even more. Can you imagine the possibilities? Shopping for you new bedroom set from your couch! Peg me as excited.
For a store like IKEA that is already so focused on the ability to be able to stand in a room and interact with it, the idea of an entirely virtual store must be their dream vision for the future.