HomeLane.com is an online provider of modular home furnishing solutions. This means that if you need to get a modular kitchen or a new wardrobe put in, you could visit the HomeLane site, order the different products you need, and also get design advice. Now, the company has unveiled a new feature that takes things one step further - its new Kaleido feature allows you to look at the redecorated or redesigned house in 3D virtual reality, before you go ahead with any changes.
The way it works is simple, and is based on Google's Cardboard - when you call for a home visit, a designer from HomeLane will get details about the floorplan of your kitchen or whichever other area you're planning on redecorating or redesigning. When the HomeLane representative arrives at your house, he will carry a phone with the Kaleido app, and a Kaleido headset, which is just a Google Cardboard headset.
HomeLane's co-founder and CEO Srikant Iyer tells us this is useful because people often can't easily check out all the different designs of modular kitchens in showrooms, and have to rely on printed pictures to get an idea of how a design will look. This makes it difficult to compare what you're seeing, with the exact space and layout of your own home.
"Imagine if you could see a three dimensional rendition of the kitchen you were going to buy," says Iyer, "and you could change the colours, finishes and appliances, or the style of the cabinets and handles, all without paying a single penny?"
As you can see in the video above, the Kaleido app lets you look around a room and get a sense of how the changes would look in your house, but the catch is that the app doesn't use augmented reality, where the changes would be overlaid on your actual house. Instead, it's using a quick mockup of the room the show you the view, which is more accurate than looking at a 2D photo, but still not the ideal experience for a user. There's definitely room for improvement, but Iyer tells us that this is just the start for Kaleido.
"We're building the consumer version of the application next, so you can download a design and look at it, or mail it to a friend or family member," he explains, "and if they have Google Cardboard, they'll be able to look around the 3D view, or they'll be able to look at an interactive 2D model without that."
The consumer application will also allow people to look at designs, and then buy simple items, though full redesigns will always require an expert to come visit the site, says Iyer.
"There will always be some things that you can't do with technology, you need a professional with experience to come and see the site for themselves," he explains. "Things like the wiring, and the plumbing of your house will require customisation of plans, and that needs a professional present."