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IKEA adding augmented reality tools to paper catalog

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IKEA will be adding augmented reality features to its 2013 catalog, giving users access to more features online.

IKEA Catalog augmented reality
IKEA Catalog augmented reality

IKEA's ink-and-paper catalog isn't going anywhere, but the company is hoping to bring it into the smartphone era with augmented reality features. Creativity reports that the 2013 catalog will come with a smartphone icon that (as far as we can tell) will work with specialized apps, possibly the current catalog app. When the page is scanned, it will bring up extra content, like customization options or pictures of the furniture in use. It's not the most exciting use of AR we've seen, but it does avoid QR codes, relying instead on image recognition software from Metaio. The design studio leading the redesign says with time, it could stream live events "like concerts or cooking shows," using the rooms as a backdrop. As with much augmented reality, it's difficult to tell how useful this will be in real life, though it certainly looks nice in the video. But IKEA Head of Global Communications Lena Simonsson Berge says that "we want the catalog to be the spearhead for communication," both online and offline, so this may be only the first step.