Cimagine brings its marker-less virtual reality shopping platform to the masses

Cimagine's markerless augmented reality platform has matured significantly in the last year, with the company recently partnering with Shop Direct – the UK's fourth-largest online retailer – to bring its solution directly to the consumer. We got a chance to catch up with the company at the Virtual Reality/Wearable Technology Show in London this week.

While Cimagine might be in the business of selling its software service to retailers, the platform is really built with the consumer in mind. The company provides retailers with a single line of code that links a product to the Cimagine platform, allowing users to quickly and easily see what any given product – for example a piece of furniture – would look like in their home. The text of the button can be customized by the retailer, and providing you're on a compatible device, a single click will launch the Cimagine app.

"Until today, augmented reality was more of a gimmick or marketing tool for engagement, etc. … What we're doing with Shop Direct is actually the first large-scale proof-of-concept for augmented reality in retail to date," Cimagine Co-Founder and CEO Yoni Nevo explained.

Consumers can already take advantage of the company's newly-announced partnership with Shop Direct, with more than 1,000 SKUs now live on the UK retailer Littlewoods' mobile site – a number that will increase five-fold in the coming months.

As well as being the largest implementation of retail augmented reality we've seen so far, the 3D models you'll find on the service are also some of the most detailed – some 10 times higher resolution than the industry standard.

Gizmag caught up with Cimagine at the Augmented Reality/Wearable Technology Show in London this week, to get a full demo of the platform in action. The software – which scans the environment at 60 frames per second and overlays objects at 30 fps – creates a believable, impressively stable projection of the product in the user's home.

The scale of the object is estimated via a combination of image processing and tracking of the movement of the device in the user's hands. Thanks to the the aforementioned high model quality, you can even get up close and personal with the products, looking at the fine detail of the material as if it's right there in the room.

When viewing a product in the app, users can change its orientation and move it around the space as desired. There's an option to instantly switch between available colors, and once happy with the placement of the furniture, a still photo – Cimagine calls them "scenes" – can be taken and quickly shared with friends via email or social network.

If you receive a scene via email from a friend, you can tap a button in the corner of the message to open up the app on your device, seeing what the furniture would look like your own home. The goal is to make the online shopping experience more social, making it easier to get opinions from friends and family.

If you're using an iPad or iPhone, then you can try out the augmented reality platform on selected products on the Littlewoods mobile site today. If you're an Android user then you're not completely out of luck, with the company rolling out support for select devices this month. In the meantime, you can check out the video below for a look at the augmented reality platform at work.


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