VR in Home Design

Virtual Reality (VR) became one of the leading trends in 2016. There is no doubt this technology will dominate in 2017 and in the years that follow. Real estate agents, designers and people who plan to remodel their houses, apartments or offices — all can find an ideal solution in VR. What options we have for utilizing VR in home design and how it works — this and other questions will be covered in our article.

The first question we need to ask ourselves — what is the result I expect? There are two options here: 360 degrees image or video of the real house or the virtual model of it. Images of the real house can be taken by a special 360 degree cameras like Ricoh Theta S, Samsung Gear 360, Nikon KeyMission 360, Kodak Pixpro 4KVR360, 360fly 4K and others. Their prices range from $200 to $500, but if you are ready to invest heavily — there are plenty of more expensive solutions on the market.

In most of the cases, though, a standard phone camera supporting shooting of 360 degrees images may do the job. Why pay more? The main disadvantage of 360 images is that you are unable to remodel the house you see, unless you actually move the furniture or paint the walls. This is where the virtual model of the design becomes incredibly helpful. The applications like Live Home 3D can help you with this task, but we will come back to it later.

Live Home 3D
Home Design Software for Mac

What Devices Can Be Used for Watching Either a Real or Virtual Model of the House?

There are plenty of headsets which can do that. We’ll start from the big players and finish with the cheaper options.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift VR headset by Palmer Luckey and Facebook
Image Source: https://www.oculus.com

This is the headset which started the current hysteria. At first developed by Palmer Luckey it was later bought by Facebook which invested in it massively. Now Facebook sees its VR future in developing the device further.

For the price of $599 you get a wearable which allows to immerse into a virtual world. It works successfully at the resolution of 2160 x 1200 with field of view (FOV) 110 degrees. And, what is more, it tracks the movement of your head and allows to get closer to the objects of your interest.The disadvantages are that it requires a powerful PC and you’ll have a cable attached to it, unless you purchase a special device like Sixa Rivvr. You may consider purchasing Oculus Touch sensors for better 3D experience, but if you plan to use the device as a 3D design viewer it is an unnecessary additional purchase.

HTC Vive

HTC Vive, Virtual Reality headset by HTC
Image Source: http://htc-online.ru/vive/demo-zone/

Crowned as VR headset of 2016, it offers the ultimate experience, but it all comes at a price — $799 plus $129.99 for the controllers. Using HTC Vive you can grab objects in the virtual reality and even walk inside your room. It all became possible due to Lighthouse room tracking. The device works at the same resolution and FOV as the Oculus Rift, requires a powerful PC and has the same issues with the cables, which can be solved by acquiring a special device like Sixa Rivvr. Its main purpose is playing games, so you should think twice before making such an investment.

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft Hololens VR headset
Image Source: https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us

An ideal solution if you plan to combine virtual and augmented reality. Works without any cables as it has Windows 10 system built into it. Runs on the batteries. Has nice tech specs, but this is where all the pluses end. The announced price of $3,000 for the Development Edition and $5,000 for Commercial Suite makes it practically useless for the task we need.

There is also Sony PlayStation VR which was released in October, 2016. It was designed to be fully functional with the PlayStation 4 home video game console. With the introductory price of $399 it became one of the most promising VR projects of 2016, but once again for games mostly.

Are There Any Cheaper Alternatives?

Yes, there are. Phone-based VR headsets could be a nice budget solution in case you do not need expensive devices. As it comes from the name — these headsets work mostly as a sort of holder for your smartphone. All you need to do is to record 360º videos or panorama images of your house and upload them to your phone. Quite simple.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard by Google
Image Source: https://www.oculus.com

This is the easiest and cheapest way to try virtual reality. As you see, it’s just a piece of folded cardboard with some cheap embedded plastic lenses. Priced at $15.00, this is the king of all budget headsets.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR by Samsung for Virtual Reality
Image Source: https://www3.oculus.com/en-us/gear-vr/

The best budget solution when it comes to price and functionality. For only $99.99 you get additional sensors and comfort, comparing to Google Cardboard. Requires the recent Samsung smartphones.

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View by Google for VR
Image Source: https://vr.google.com/daydream/

The best budget solution when it comes to price and functionality. For only $99.99 you get additional sensors and comfort, comparing to Google Cardboard. Requires the recent Samsung smartphones.

There are plenty of other headsets on the market, but we will limit to the most popular ones.

Is It Possible to Watch 360 Degrees Videos and Panoramas of the Houses Without Any Devices?

In fact, yes. Any VR headset comprises a stereoscopic head-mounted display (providing separate images for each eye), but there is always a possibility to create a standard 360º video or image which is just a flat equirectangular video/image displayed on a sphere.

Such video or image can be viewed on a smartphone or in the computer browser without any additional devices. To look around, you will need to use a finger or a cursor as a pointer or simply hold the phone and move it in different directions looking at your home design.

What Software Lets Use VR in Home Design?

Live Home 3D is the one and only solution for making panorama 360º images and videos on Mac and Windows platforms. This app helps to use VR in home design. Easy-to-use and affordable at the same time, Live Home 3D allows you to develop creative and advanced home and interior projects for your family or business. This Mac program helps to design a copy of your house and export the final result into panorama 360º images and videos. There is no need to only use Virtual Reality headsets — any of the designs created in Live Home 3D can be viewed on any computer or even mobile phone.

Live Home 3D allows using VR in Home Design