A new framework dubbed RoomPlan will allow apps to quickly create 3D floor plans of rooms using the LiDAR Scanner in recent iPhones and iPads.
The Swift API will allow real estate and e-commerce apps to scan and create a room’s floor plan. This can then be used for remodeling and interior design changes. Despite its wow factor, Apple did not talk about the RoomPlan API onstage during Monday’s WWDC22 keynote.
RoomPlan powers 3D room scans
Apple discusses RoomPlan in detail in the augmented reality section of its developer website. It notes that apps can use the API to “create a 3D floor plan of a room, including key characteristics such as dimensions and types of furniture.”
Powered by Apple’s augmented reality platform, ARKit, the beta version of the RoomPlan API will work in iOS 16, iPadOS 16 as well as Mac Catalyst 16.
PhotoCatch is the first app to integrate RoomPlan
The developers of PhotoCatch are among the first to integrate RoomPlan into their app. The integration allows their app to create 3D floor plans of a space in just a few seconds. Once scanned and created, you can review the floor plan in 3D space — right down to the location of various furniture.
If you are already running iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 on your iPhone or iPad Pro, you can try out a beta of PhotoCatch. Or just watch the quick demo in the video embedded below.
PhotoCatch is the first app to integrate Apple's RoomPlan to create 3D floor plans of a space in seconds.
— PhotoCatch (@PhotoCatch3D) June 7, 2022
RoomPlan is not perfect but works surprisingly well
Jonathan Stephens, chief evangelist at EveryPoint, used RoomPlan to scan different rooms in his house using an iPad Pro and shared his finding in a Twitter thread. His tests show that RoomPlan’s scanning won’t be fooled if used in front of a mirror.
What’s even more impressive is that RoomPlan successfully created an accurate 3D model of a messy playroom. The ARKit-powered feature is not perfect, though. It struggled to properly scan vaulted ceilings or walls with a slant angle. It also failed to detect a huge opening in a wall.
Follow along as I do a series of structured @Apple RoomPlan tests and share my findings/notes in this thread.
— Jonathan Stephens (@jonstephens85) June 7, 2022
iOS 16 beta is in developers’ hands
iOS 16 is still a few months away from public release. This gives Apple plenty of time to address all the reported issues with RoomPlan and further refine it.
RoomPlan might not seem immediately beneficial, but it could play a vital role in enabling some distinct experiences once Apple’s AR/VR headset lands early next year.