IKEA AssembleAR shows how augmented reality and presence could transform assembly instructions

[A designer has imagined how augmented reality and the sense of spatial presence it evokes could improve the process of using assembly instructions for IKEA products (and of course the ideas could be extended to all kinds of manuals). This short story is from Co.Design, where it includes a gif and a 1:06 minute video, which is also available along with more information from Adam Pickard’s website. –Matthew]

The Ikea Manual Of The Future Looks Amazing

Mark Wilson
March 22, 2018

We’ve all been there. Blood pumping. Face red. Body exhausted. It’s 15 minutes into building a piece of Ikea furniture, and we’re one diaeresis away from throwing the hex wrench out the window. Sure, Ikea’s ubiquitous instruction manuals look so simple and friendly, but translating the schematics from the page into real life can be challenging.

A designer named Adam Pickard has shown us a better way. He imagined that Ikea’s instructions were rendered in augmented reality–much like the company allows you to preview a couch in your living room today with its AR app.

Using 3D modeling and a bit of post-production trickery, he created a concept called AssembleAR. It’s a high fidelity vision for an app that could place Ikea’s wireframe build instructions right onto your living room floor. After scanning the barcode on the box, you could literally lay the step-by-step models right next to your actual built project.

In principle, this AR effect shouldn’t be all that much of an improvement over good old paper instructions. But in rendered reality, the little nuances, like animated bolts and screws twisting into place, seem like they could do wonders to eliminate those half-guess moments that seem so intrinsic to building a piece of furniture on your own. And while, yes, it’s hard to imagine having a free hand to hold your phone while assembling a five-foot-tall dresser, Pickard’s AssembleAR holds promise all the same. Ikea would do well to hire this guy.

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