Few people know this about me, but on top of being a huge video game nerd, I’m also both a part-time eco warrior and a big fan of the Tiny House movement, which is all about simple living and not destroying the environment for the sake of building a McMansion. I’ll happily spend a full evening watching video tours of micro homes or looking at floor plans while sketching out my own future home. But no amount of doodles can compare to actually visiting a property in person and snooping around.
Japanese home builder Daiwa House, too, knows the importance of giving potential home builders a chance to experience their residences in person, and is about to launch a special “Try Lab” showroom that invites visitors to slip on a virtual reality headset and wander around inside their new house, whether tiny or huge, and really get a feel for the place before giving the architect the final nod.
Beginning on April 26 at their headquarters in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, Daiwa House’s Try Lab centre will invite guests to step inside a number of their model homes without ever leaving the room.
After slipping on a virtual reality-style personal display unit, future homeowners are able to move about a large, open space while a Daiwa House advisor gives them the tour. Sensors built into the walls recognise when the headset wearer has moved or turned their head, changing the image being displayed before their eyes in real-time, thus creating the sensation of actually being in one of the company’s homes.
A range of furniture and interior items has also been fully rendered in 3-D, meaning that as well as being able to alter the layout of the virtual rooms they are standing in, visitors can see what their home might look like with moveable sofas, tables and chairs, a big-screen TV on the wall and so on. Just don’t get carried away and try to sit down — while the furniture is virtual, the studio floor is very real and likely not especially soft.
Daiwa House’s program even allows visitors to see what their model homes would look like at different times of day and during each of Japan’s four distinct seasons, so you can get a feel for what it might be like to snuggle up on a winter’s night or crack open a beer in the heat of summer.
The technology is new, and there are likely still a few bugs to be worked out, but we can’t help thinking this is a great way for companies like homebuilders to showcase their products. Who knows, maybe 10 years from now we’ll be able to take virtual tours of exciting new homes from the comfort of our current abodes.
Now, if we could only do something about all those identical plastic houses that keep popping up all over Japan…