Decorating & Design
March 20, 2017
Step Into Your Dream Kitchen With Ikea’s New Virtual Reality Tool
Executive editor Kimberley Brown shares the inside scoop on Ikea’s new virtual reality kitchen.
After you slip on the complimentary HTC Vive headset and enter into Ikea’s virtual reality kitchen, the trickiest thing to remember is that nothing you see is actually there. Every few seconds, I found myself repeating the last instructions I was given: Don’t lean on the counters.
Until May 21, Ikea Canada’s Etobicoke location in Toronto, Ontario, is encouraging customers to try their hand at cooking pancakes in a virtual reality kitchen. As they go through the motions of whipping up a simple meal, the thinking goes, it will help them realize what they should consider when planning and designing their own kitchen. First, though, you need to figure out how to open a cabinet or pick up a utensil in the digital realm, which, I can tell you, is harder than you think. The controllers you’re holding in both hands are strapped onto your wrists for a reason: every time you put down a spoon in VR, your hand wants to put down the spoon in RL, so you have to actively remind yourself not to open your hand (and drop the controller). This doesn’t leave a lot of brain power for thinking about things like cabinets versus shelves or whether you want an island or a table.
Still, it’s a pretty fun exercise — much more fun than staring at a bunch of floor plans. This brings me to the second experience on offer, which allows anyone who has designed a kitchen with Ikea’s online Home Planner to upload their design and virtually stand in their future kitchen. Since the VR platform is still in the testing phase, the image you see is a very basic rendering that doesn’t show finishes, styles, materials or colors. And you can’t move or change anything while you’re in the VR world. But, it lets you see where all your cabinets and appliances will be, effectively bringing your unbuilt kitchen to life. If customers prove keen enough and Ikea brings its VR technology along a little further, one day you’ll be able to cook a meal in your dream kitchen when it’s still just a dream. How cool is that?
My VR Guide gave me helpful reminders, like don’t lean on the counters.
The controller in my right hand let me grab things, like a carton of milk from inside the fridge.
The controller in my left hand let me move around the VR kitchen while standing still in real life.
I was pretty pleased with my VR cooking skills.
This was my POV in VR. So many acronyms!