Amazon embraces Apple's ARKit, adds virtual product previews to iOS shopping app

Posted:
in iOS edited November 2017
Amazon has become the latest major retailer to embrace Apple's ARKit, with an update to its iOS shopping app providing its customers the ability to see how a selection of its products will look within their home using augmented reality.




The AR View within the Amazon iOS app uses ARKit to overlay a rendering of a product from the retailer over the iPhone's rear camera. The virtual item is placed on a flat surface where the customer intends to put the real product, with it able to be repositioned and rotated to the user's preference within the app.

To activate the option within the app, users have to press the camera icon at the top of the app interface, before selecting AR View. The app will provide a list of the "thousands" of virtual items available to preview within the mode, including furniture, electronics, games, home decor, and other products.

The addition of AR to the app "helps customers make better shopping decisions," claims Amazon, by "allowing them to visualize the aesthetic and fit of products in their own living space."





The AR View feature in version 9.21.2 of the Amazon app is compatible with the iPhone 6S and later running iOS 11, which includes ARKit. The update's release notes reveals it is currently only available for customers based in the United States, but it is likely to spread to other markets if it is well received.

Amazon's entry into the AR space follows after a similar product previewing app from furniture retailer Ikea. Released in September, the Ikea Place app also uses ARKit to superimpose its furniture on a view from the iOS device camera, giving users a good idea of how it will look and fit within the room before committing to a purchase.

Introduced as part of iOS 11, ARKit is a framework designed to make it as easy as possible for developers to add AR experiences to their apps. Using the rear camera feed and CoreMotion data, ARKit is able to determine surfaces that objects can be placed upon, track camera movement in relation to the environment, and also determine the appropriate lighting for virtual objects placed into the scene.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    hodarhodar Posts: 227member

    Instead of investing tens of thousands of hours on ARKit for Amazon shoppers, which may, or may not result in sales; how about investing a few hundred hours of porting the AppleTV and delivering the long promised Amazon Video for your EXISTING customers, so we can watch what we paid for, on the AppleTV.  I will NOT be buying the inferior FireTV stick, as I have the AppleTV.  So, please get off your lazy butts, and deliver what you have promised for years.

    I mean, you missed the July date, the September Apple roll-out, the October ball games, and now it's almost Thanksgiving.

    hubbaxSpamSandwichcalimacseekerracerhomiewatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    hodar said:

    Instead of investing tens of thousands of hours on ARKit for Amazon shoppers, which may, or may not result in sales; how about investing a few hundred hours of porting the AppleTV and delivering the long promised Amazon Video for your EXISTING customers, so we can watch what we paid for, on the AppleTV.  I will NOT be buying the inferior FireTV stick, as I have the AppleTV.  So, please get off your lazy butts, and deliver what you have promised for years.

    I mean, you missed the July date, the September Apple roll-out, the October ball games, and now it's almost Thanksgiving.

    Well said. 
  • Reply 3 of 7
    hodar said:

    Instead of investing tens of thousands of hours on ARKit for Amazon shoppers, which may, or may not result in sales; how about investing a few hundred hours of porting the AppleTV and delivering the long promised Amazon Video for your EXISTING customers, so we can watch what we paid for, on the AppleTV.  I will NOT be buying the inferior FireTV stick, as I have the AppleTV.  So, please get off your lazy butts, and deliver what you have promised for years.

    I mean, you missed the July date, the September Apple roll-out, the October ball games, and now it's almost Thanksgiving.

    From the experience I had it’s more like investing tens of hours. Either that or they’re selling 12 foot chairs. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    Okay just ordered more movies at itunes since amazon is not moving to apple tv....
    racerhomiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,472member
    Hard to tell if this is genuinely useful or if it will fade away to gimmickville. I recently ordered motor oil and don’t think it would have been useful to see how the plastic containers look in my garage. 
    edited November 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    anomeanome Posts: 941member
    I was just on the app looking at Christmas presents, and it won't show me how the CDs I was ordering would look on my shelf...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    jd_in_sb said:
    Hard to tell if this is genuinely useful or if it will fade away to gimmickville. I recently ordered motor oil and don’t think it would have been useful to see how the plastic containers look in my garage. 
    anome said:
    I was just on the app looking at Christmas presents, and it won't show me how the CDs I was ordering would look on my shelf...
    Give it a chance... We're only in the early stages of AR...

    Here's an example of a practical use for AR/VR.

    I bought a $350 Occipital* 3D camera that attaches to my iPad Pro.  The camera uses tech similar to that used in FaceID -- only on the rear camera and for a greater distance.

    I downloaded The Canvas app that uses the 3D camera.  It can scan people, etc. -- but I used it to scan my daughter's kitchen.  My daughter had just returned from CostCo, so the kitchen was a mess -- stuff everywhere.

    To scan a room, you move around and use the iPad to virtually paint the ceiling, walls, floor, other contents -- as you scan something it covers it with a layer of virtual paint.  I didn't do any special prep -- just jumped right in -- took about 45 seconds.

    Here's the original scan:





    This may not look like much, but it is a 3D mesh with over 600,000 vertices accurate to 1-2%.  You can perform acceptably accurate measurements using the original scan.

    Or, you can upload the scan to Canvas where they will process the scan (called Scan To CAD) and return a reprocessed scan and a file that can be imported into a 3D modeling or CAD app.

    Here's the reprocessed original -- notice that there are a lot of holes in the mesh:





    And, finally, a 3D CAD drawing -- this is SketchUp.  They eliminate everything but the walls and cabinets.



      

    Several things of interest:

    • The scanned images are readable and manipulatable by Xcode SceneKit and the macOS Preview app
    • Occipital provides an SDK for Xcode so you can write your own processing programs -- the SDK  is ObjC -- I'm a Swift guy and I don't want to backwards

    * The Occipital 3D camera uses tech provided by PrimeSense whom apple acquired for SLAM and, I think is also used in FaceID.

    Finally, I suspect that in the not too distant future [at least] the iPad Pro will have a rear camera using the PrimeSense tech for doing things like this!

    whew!
    edited December 2017
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