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InsideMaps Uses 3D Home Models Captured In Minutes To Build The Future Of Furniture Buying | TechCrunch


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THE TECH

The InsideMaps team, which is launching its app today on the Disrupt SF 2013 stage, is applying 3D mapping and capture technology to an interesting problem: How do you visualize furniture purchases in your home before you buy them?

According to InsideMaps, you do it by using your smartphone to scan the inside of your home, allowing them to create a 3D model in the cloud that you can then place virtual bits of furniture inside to see how it fits.

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That consists of utilizing data captured by the gyroscope and magnetometer inside your device (which is why they have to be fairly new smartphones) to craft a model. That model is then checked against a series of visual touchstones in the images. The heights of doorknobs, window sills, etc. While they do this, they’re also gathering data about the average sizes of openings like doors and more, so they can apply machine learning to improve the quality of the models down the road.

Currently, the processing takes around 20 minutes for a room or 4 hours for a whole house. InsideMaps is using Amazon Compute Cloud to perform the model-making process, in part because of its instanced GPU setup, which comes in handy for jobs like these.

The app runs on Android for now, but the team is at work on an iOS version. As mentioned above, you need to have a device no more than around 2 years old to have the sensors needed to make the app do its magic.

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THE BIZ

I queried Bolanos about how they were going about creating the models of the furniture to use. It turns out that the team made a happy discovery once they started looking into this: most furniture makers already create 3D models of their wares. For ‘augmented reality’ or 3D rotation widgets, sure, but they had the models, and InsideMaps can tap into those without having to reinvent the wheel.

Once the pipeline is set up, InsideMaps is planning on utilizing a revenue setup that combines referral, affiliate and sponsorship models. This creates a ready-made meritocracy where results beget income. It’s a far more honest and straightforward system than a lot we tend to see these days.

Currently, InsideMaps is walking to big retailers including a deal with a subsidiary of the largest furniture retailer in the U.S.

But the direct sales market isn’t the only one that the team is excited about. Bolanos says that InsideMaps is equally intrigued with how the app will work with interior designers and real estate agents. They’ve already begun testing it with real estate agents actually, and it’s working out ‘well’. The idea is that an agent could gift a 3D model of a home to a new homeowner, or provide it in advance in the interest of ‘listing transparency’. In addition to helping people visualize the space in 3D, something a large number of people have a difficult time with, InsideMaps is also able to tap into the ‘new homeowner’, who is 10x more likely to buy furniture during their first 10 years of home ownership.

Eventually, InsideMaps hopes to get the processing down to about 2 minutes per room, with the hope that you’ll have that model processed before you’re even on to the next one.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just 3-D print our furniture so we don't have to shop for it?

If the 3-D printer can figure out how to do an eight-way tie on a coil, kiln dry the hardwood frame, and wrap a foam core with goose down, yeah.

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