IKEA, in partnership with its research and design lab SPACE10, has launched its latest project, Everyday Experiments, with focus on AI, machine learning, augmented reality and spatial intelligence.
Combining interesting technology and design studios via a web-based platform, the aim is to showcase a series of digital experiments that explore new ways of how we interact with the spaces we live in, launching on 17 June 2020.
IKEA x Space10 states that by living in the same space over years – and almost permanently during a period of lockdown – people become accustomed to their living environments and lose sight of the potential of their homes.
It asks the question: How could we use technology to rediscover fresh ways of looking at our space to rethink our environment?
Exploratory elements of the project include: using your mobile device as a tool to experience how sound moves around your living room and controlling what spatially aware devices can sense and process in your home while making sure they respect your privacy.
One interesting experiment is The Techno Carpenter – a virtual reality environment in which the user is invited to design their own machine learning-generated chairs by communicating with their hands.
Every slight movement of the palm and finger is interpreted by the machine learning model and translated into an iteration of the chair.
By feeding an algorithm more than 6,000 images of existing chairs, design studio Bakken & Bæck trained it to recognise, read and analyse a chair based on its features or characteristics.
The algorithm analyses these models to look for things that are similar or different between them, such as the presence of armrests, the solidity of a more relaxing chair compared to an upright dining chair.
The computer positions all models in a large virtual space of 128 dimensions and naturally group similar chairs together.
“Creating a simple tool that serves as an interface to a complex system also democratises the domain of furniture design,” said a spokesperson for Bakken & Bæck. “A piece of furniture should be easy to be used, reused and repurposed based on the materials and components. It should be easy to be understood, and easy to be used.”
“Technology is quickly becoming a vital part of the IKEA customer experience and home furnishing offer,” said Fredrik Axén, digital manager core business franchise for IKEA’s parent company Inter IKEA Systems.
“Being a values-driven brand, we focus on people and planet. As we enter a new digital era, we are also exploring new ways to create a better everyday life at home, while protecting people’s privacy.”