Apple unlocks room scanning powers for developers

Apple has unveiled a new API for creating 3D floor plans of an interior room. .

Since 2020, high-end iPhones and iPads have been equipped with LiDAR scanners – light detection and ranging technology capable of scanning and mapping a user’s immediate surroundings.

Now, during his recent WWDC 2022 event, the company revealed bedroom plan (opens in a new tab), an augmented reality tool powered by Apple’s ARKit, which will allow companies to use LiDAR in their own applications. Aimed firmly at professionals in the real estate, hospitality, architecture, and interior design industries, Apple says RoomPlan will “help your app quickly create simplified parametric 3D scans of a room” to streamline conceptual planning.

How does Apple RoomPlan work?

Currently, RoomPlan is in beta, but Apple developer documentation (opens in a new tab) to adopt this API offers some clues.

In the app, a user first scans the room with their device. According to Apple, “the framework inspects a device’s camera feed and LiDAR readings and identifies walls, windows, openings, and doors. RoomPlan also recognizes room features, furniture and appliances, such as a fireplace, bed or fridge, and provides this information to the app.

Once the analysis is approved, the user can access the RoomPlan readings. This includes estimated dimensions of a room, the ability to add virtual furniture, or even include the room in a 3D game.

Output results in USD and USDZ file formats, allowing further adjustments when exporting to USD-compatible tools like AutoCAD – our top choice for best architecture software.

Illustration of the developer view in RoomPlan

(Image credit: Apple)

3D mapping on mobile devices isn’t new – some of the best interior design software has long-standing AR capabilities. It’s a way to accurately visualize in-situ designs, allowing users to “see” what completed projects might look like in the very space they are in.

By opening up real-time analytics with LiDAR to third-party apps, Apple further simplifies access for businesses looking to bring augmented reality visions to life for customers and customers. And it’s a way to create better experiences for app users. RoomPlan allows app developers to “highlight physical structures and display text that guides the user to analyze the shape of their physical environment.”

Along with improved guidance, there’s better visual feedback when scanning, while the dollhouse view will show everything scanned in a room. Indeed, with this announcement, it is possible for development teams to make their 3D home design software even more powerful.