What is the Triple AR app?
Triple is a new way to buy and sell products for your home in augmented reality.
Why did you make this app?
We spoke with a number of online furniture retailers who told us they wanted a better way to display their products online. In the furniture industry conversion rates online are pretty low and returns are very expensive, and we felt that AR could significantly help improve both of these problems. From a user perspective, we were pretty aware of the pain points around buying furniture, especially since we move pretty often. We felt that AR could really improve the experience and make online furniture shopping much easier.
What was the inspiration?
We’ve been really inspired by the enthusiasm of retailers for this technology. Intuitively retailers understand how much better online shopping could be with AR, and are quick to generate creative ideas about how to leverage AR to improve the customer experience. On the personal side, I love to shop online but buying furniture without seeing it seems like a big risk since its a major commitment and returns are a pain. I recently moved to LA from Chicago and have been using our app to help me furnish my space. Not only has this helped me make the right choices, but my wife and I actually had a lot of fun designing our space in AR with Triple.
What were your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge is getting the 3D models of the furniture. Many furniture companies do not have 3D models of their furniture, or if they do, they may not be in the correct format. It was a challenge for us to develop a process for building 3D models that look great but are also small enough in file size that they can be downloaded in real-time on a mobile phone.
Who was involved?
Chris Heinrich is the CEO and co-founder, and Alex Edelman is the CTO and co-founder. Chris and Alex were classmates in the physics PhD program at the University of Chicago and have worked on a number of projects together including physics research and an Apple Watch app. As graduation from the PhD program neared, they started to think seriously about starting a company after grad school, and Triple was born.
What tools did you use?
The interface of the app is written in Swift, while the AR part is built in Unity. We leverage Apple’s ARKit as our predominant AR SDK. We also wrote our own API for pulling 3D model data into the app at runtime.
Did you use any tutorials you can recommend?
Unity has a lot of great tutorials for learning their software, which was great for us since we didn’t have a background in game design. As far as ARKit development goes, however, there isn’t much out there on the internet yet so we mostly learned by reading Apple’s ARKit documentation and studying the Unity ARKit plugin.
What’s coming next?
In the near future, you can expect to see a number of online furniture retailers launching their own AR apps that are powered by Triple. In our own app, we will be adding new products, and also enabling users to save and share their designs with other users on the app. We are also working on integrating AI into the experience to make relevant recommendations using data from the camera, but you’ll have to check back in a few months for more data on that 🙂
What are your plans?
Our mission is to make it as easy as possible for retailers to sell products in augmented reality. Our starting point is furniture because this is a challenging product to sell online and AR generates a lot of value, but in the long run, we envision expanding to other product categories such as appliances, flooring, cabinetry, automotive and apparel. While the dominant platform for AR today is native mobile apps, as the technology evolves, we imagine enabling retailers to sell products in other channels such as web AR or headset-based AR.