HomeTech GiantsAppleRoomPlan in action: When the iPhone makes the couch disappear

RoomPlan in action: When the iPhone makes the couch disappear

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With iOS 16, Apple introduces a new programming tool that can be used to hide real objects in the AR view. There are first examples.

With iOS 16, iphone/">iPhone users have the option of making real objects or even the entire furnishings of a room virtually disappear in an augmented reality view. The e-commerce software provider Shopify now shows what can be done with this magic trick using a practical example. The basis is the new RoomPlan programming interface, which Apple plans to release with the iOS upgrade in the fall.


New setup via swipe

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RoomPlan takes advantage of the iPhone’s camera and the lidar sensor that’s been built into the iPhone 12 Pro to create a floor plan of a room. The software can also use image and depth data to recognize furnishings, estimate their dimensions and thus distinguish them from the walls. This is exactly what Shopify uses in an example. At the push of a button, all the furnishings disappear from the live image in a fully furnished room with curtains, desk and houseplant. Coupled with existing functions in Apple’s ARKit interface, for example to place virtual objects such as furniture, this opens up completely new possibilities for AR applications.


Apple itself cites real estate and hospitality apps as potential beneficiaries in addition to e-commerce applications. Interior designers and architects should – with the appropriate apps – certainly also benefit from the possibilities. RoomPlan also allows the floor plans to be exported to popular CAD and animation tool formats such as Cinema 4D and AutoCAD.

digital twin

In the application example, Shopify has created a digital twin of the real room. On Twitter you can also see how, for example, a swipe can be used to switch between different completely different interiors in real time. Since RoomPlan only provides floor plan data, the developers had to use SceneKit to ensure that the walls had a suitable texture and therefore appeared real. Again, the facility’s recognition data was useful to recognize and apply the wall color.

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RoomPlan is also seen as a possible indication that Apple’s plans for mixed reality glasses are also taking shape in software, along with other significant improvements in ARKit.

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