The developers of the new feature: Raphael, Jörg and Stefan.
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We've implemented Augmented Reality in our apps

Aurel Stevens
Translation: Eva Francis

We’ve implemented a new feature, allowing you to try out what products could look like in your home before you order them. Would a 65” TV or a 75” screen look better in my living room? Does this wardrobe fit in my bedroom? Where best to place this lamp? The new Augmented Reality (AR) features in our apps gives you answers to all these questions.

To see what you can expect from this new feature, have a look at the pictures in this article.

Want to give it a go? This is how it works:

digitec app

Galaxus app

How to proceed from there:

  • Download the marker and print it on a A4 page (landscape mode, not portrait mode).
  • Place the marker where you’d like the product to be displayed.
  • Select a product in the app.
  • Select the 3D symbol in the top right corner of the app.
  • Point your smartphone camera towards the marker and walk away slowly.
In the top right corner of the app, you’ll find the 3D icon that opens the AR mode.

You only have to print the marker once, as the same one works for all products. However, you have to make sure to use an A4 sheet of paper or the projection won’t have the right size. I was quite surprised how accurate the size of the item was when I tested the new feature.

This is what a 82" TV looks like. Pack up your 65" screen, Dominik!
One real Nerf Gun and one projection.

Based on its dimensions (HxWxD) and a picture from the front, the AR feature creates a projection of the item in its real size. To see other perspectives, just select more images and you’ll see the other sides when you move around in the room. If the dimensions are missing, you can enter them yourself.

Are you wondering why all items are displayed in a white cube? I know that’s not the case for Pokémon GO, but we don’t have 3-dimensional models of our products. All we have are pictures and dimensions. Without the use of a white cube, the pictures would overlap. In other words: We’re getting the best out of the information we have. That’s why it’s possible that a sofa, if we only have a picture from the side, might appear distorted.

The AR feature only works if suitable pictures are available. Lucky enough, this is the case for most products. It works with any items from our shop; if you'd like to put a book, a sock or a sneaker on your table, go ahead. However, you can only view one product at a time.

Suits you really well, Ramon. Get it!

The AR calculations and live projection require a lot of computing time. This means that it uses some battery and your device might warm up. By the way, the new AR feature is also the reason why the updated apps need access to your camera.

The app was created as part of a master thesis by three students from University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil. Raphael Grawehr, Jörg Abderhalden and Stefan Suter (in the picture above) programmed the feature for iOS and Android. They invested about 1,500 hours to get it up and running. The current version employs the Vuforia library to track the marker and the Unity engine to project the item into the room.

Do you like this new feature? Is it helpful or just a gimmick?

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I'm the master tamer at the flea circus that is the editorial team, a nine-to-five writer and 24/7 dad. Technology, computers and hi-fi make me tick. On top of that, I’m a rain-or-shine cyclist and generally in a good mood.

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