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Furnish-It-Yourself: A Mobile Furnishing Simulator with Augmented Reality

Lee Chung Yin

  
ProgrammeBachelor of Science with Honours in Computing
SupervisorMr. Kevin Tse
AreasSmart Living
Year of Completion2015
AwardsSecond Runner-Up, IEEE HK Section Student Paper Competition 2015
 Third-Class Prize, National Challenge Cup 2015

Objectives

The aim of this project is developing a home solution to help furniture buyers evaluate which furniture fits their home style at home and provide a real-like furnishing experience. This project will develop an AR furnishing mobile application. This application focuses on helping furniture buyers to foresee the furnishing effect. Users can get a concrete view of the effect before buying furniture. The details as follows:

Background and Methodology

This project is a mobile furnishing simulator, it was chosen to implement in Android platform. The application requires using camera in order to interact with the reality.

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Users can avoid the inconvenience of using a dedicated marker such as download, print and bring by using user-defined marker recognition. In this application, there are few requirements to papers to become markers. The requirements are listed below:

Basic requirements:

Advance requirement:

User can define his/her own marker. A marker object will be defined in Unity at first. After users took a picture to what they want to be the marker, the picture will be checked by the application. If the picture is passed, it will be assigned to be the marker object. Otherwise users need to choose another object as the marker and repeat the flow above.

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After starting the application, users need to perform marker recognition at least once time, they can still perform the recognition afterwards in order to change the marker.

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Lighting effect is one of the ways to make augmented objects look realistic. The appearance of objects in physical environment will be affected by the physical light source, such as lighter and projecting shadow. But the augmented objects are not affected by it, so those objects will look odd.

To tackle this problem, a light optimization panel is provided to user to make change to the virtual light source and simulate the physical lighting effect. The light optimization of this application includes adjusting the light color, brightness and the light direction.

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There are six related features to assist the furnishing process which are furniture menu, furniture positioning tool, extended tracking, multiple models, view in different perspectives and model in real size.

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If users are allowed to view the furniture pieces in single viewpoint only, there will be no different from watching a furniture photo. Allowing user to view in different viewpoint is the direct way to help them get an all-rounded idea of the furniture. User can simply walk around the models to view in different viewpoints.

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It is important to show the furniture models in real size in order to let the users know how big the furniture pieces actually are. The size of furniture models in the augmented view is scaled according to their measurement information. The following testing illustrates the how long does the 45cm width of a chair model will be showed in the augmented view with different marker recognition situation.

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After the positioning furniture models, users may want to gather some opinions to the furnishing effects. But it is hard to tell the effect to others, a built-in sharing function may help to share the augmented view to social networking website – Facebook.

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Evaluation

A questionnaire has been set up, all the sampling conditions are all followed by the evaluation plan in methodology except the number of samples are 89 not 70. Before they answer the questionnaire, they listened to the introduction and aims of this application and used this application successfully “put” at least one furniture model into the augmented view.

Nearly 85% of interviewees they are either agree or strongly agree that they can understand the real shape and size of a furniture piece through this application. Shape and size are the most common concerns when choosing furniture. The results show that using augmented reality is effective to provide information on these two concerns especially the shape. However, around 10% of people think that the application cannot help in understanding the size of furniture piece.

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Nearly 85% of interviewees agree that the furniture positioning experience of this application is real enough. The result shows that the types of positioning operations in this application are “real”, users can do what they can do in the reality. Around 10% of them are neutral, they mention that the positioning operations are real but lacking of “real feeling”.

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Conclusion and Future Development

providing a real-like furnishing experience. A good simulation should stick to the reality. Allowing user to perform real actions in the simulation is a direct way to make the simulation suit users and become more realistic. A group of positioning feature is provided to allow user to perform real positioning operations. The second one is foreseeing the furnishing effect at home. Everyone can go to furniture shops in order to browse and evaluate whether a furniture piece is fit his/her home or not. But it is very inconvenient as it is hard to know whether a furniture piece fits their home when they are far away from home. An augmented view will be provided to users to “see” the furniture models at home.

Copyright Lee Chung Yin and Kevin Tse 2015


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Editors: Mr. Raymond Wong, Ms. Terri Wong, and Dr. Andrew Kwok-Fai LUI
The Computing Programme Team, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Homantin, Kowloon, HK
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