Let’s say you’re at a furniture store and see a couch you like. It has the number of seats you need for your living room and the cushions are comfortable. But the model in the store is cotton, and that just won’t do — you wanted leather. How are you supposed to know if you like how it looks in person?
At stores with Y Combinator-backed VizeraLabs’s projector installed, you can instantly see what every fabric looks like on a display model. The company wants to replace the books full of different fabrics you can look through at furniture retailers with a projector paired with Microsoft’s Kinect hardware and pretty much any device that can connect to its growing database of materials and patterns in the cloud:
At least, that’s the idea. It’s not quite the same experience as being able to feel the material, and while it looks good from a few feet away, you’re not going to be fooled up close.
In VizeraLabs‘s vision of the future, most furniture stores become much more compact. Showrooms would use fewer models, arranging them in such a way that customers can see any material on any chair or couch via their projector system. You find the model you want, find the look you like, and then submit your order for online delivery.
Eventually the company hopes that its 3D-mapping technology will be used for more than just furniture. There are quite a few use cases where it might help to see what something looks like before you buy, like wallpaper and paint. Beyond that, the company envisions their technology being used to see what a product under development would look like by projecting CAD renderings onto 3D-printed models and to show cars in different colors in showrooms, among other uses.
I’m curious to see how VizeraLabs’s expansion goes. The company has arranged trials at retail locations in Turkey (where the startup was founded) and in the Bay Area and will soon begin to charge its early users a subscription fee. It’s not willing to publicly discuss the details of its pricing just yet, but according to co-founder Ali Çevik, VizeraLabs it’s aiming to make it so that a retailer can justify the expense with approximately three additional sales per month.
You can see VizeraLabs’s projector in action in the video below: