Impressive demo: Mixed Reality puts a virtual kitchen in real space
Mixed Reality could make home center visits obsolete. Varjo shows what this future could look like with an impressive video AR demo.
The demo was designed with Unity and exemplifies how you could realistically project a kitchen in front of you with high-quality Mixed Reality and then adjust colors and materials to your needs.
The concept is as old as the recent virtual reality craze: IKEA, for example, released a VR kitchen planner for the HTC Vive VR headset in 2016 and later launched an AR app for smartphones.
Partly new to Varjo’s demo is the level of realism, as well as the visual inclusion of the real environment using high-quality video AR. In this type of augmented reality, the environment is captured by high-resolution color cameras and streamed to the headset’s displays, where it can be augmented with digital elements.
Varjo demonstrates the benefits of Video AR
This video-based AR enables a wider field of view and a more realistic representation of digital elements than is possible with traditional AR glasses. In the following video, notice how seamlessly the simulation transitions into physical reality: An employee walks past the virtual kitchen window and is obscured by the digital elements as if they were real.
To make the kitchen’s appearance in the room seem more coherent, Varjo has programmed two subtle effects. The first provides a soft fade that gives the impression that the kitchen is gradually materializing in the room. The other makes digital objects appear in a cartoon-like manner.
Still some hurdles to overcome before it is suitable for everyday use
Varjo’s demo is an early concept, and accordingly the technology is still far from everyday use, at least in this sophisticated form. Furniture stores could think of interior design advice as a XR delivery service with a home visit. But that would probably only be worthwhile for costly kitchens and furniture.
Ideally, the software would need to be able to measure the room and place the virtual kitchen in the room according to the space available. Appropriate headsets would also have to be cheaper, more convenient and easier to use. The demo requires a fast computer and a pair of high-end VR glasses costing several thousand euros, the Varjo XR-3.
But Varjo is already working on its cloud streaming solution, and with the Varjo Aero, the Finnish company has launched its first VR headset for consumers. Advanced video AR glasses from Meta, Apple and Lynx should also pave the way for Mixed Reality suitable for everyday use in the next few years.
Read more about Mixed Reality:
- Passthrough AR headset Lynx R-1: What is going on?
- U-turn on Hololens: Microsoft follows Meta and Apple
- Samsung chief confirms Metaverse device