Business

Virtual view of houses before you pick a home

As a child, one of my most fascinating toys was a stereoscope gifted by my mom. With the toy, I used to view various places around the world in three-dimension (3D). For the uninitiated, a stereoscope lets one view pictures in 3D – the left eye and right eye are shown separate images of the same scene.

The CommonFloor Retina (CF Retina) headgear brought back the memories of my stereoscope. CF Retina, a combination of the app and the headgear, helps a potential buyer/tenant get a near-real experience of a housing project that she/he is looking to buy.

Currently, the app is compatible only with select range of Android smartphones such as the Google Nexus 4 (and above), Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen, the Samsung Galaxy 4 (and above), the Motorola Moto X and the Xiaomi Mi3.

The Google Cardboard headgear can be purchased for Rs 999 from Flipkart and CommonFloor websites.

Download the CF Retina application, launch it, insert the phone inside the headgear and wear it – and you’re set. You’re already stepping into the virtual reality world of your “would-be” properties.

To select an option, focus on it, wait for it to turn orange and select it by releasing the ring on the left-hand side of the headgear, which works on magnetic trigger. Look in any direction – left, right, behind, above and down – to take a full tour of the area. For instance, while touring a 3BHK apartment, one feels like she/he is standing at the centre of the room, say, a drawing room. Let’s imagine that towards the left side of the drawing room is the master bedroom. Turn your head towards left and you can see the bedroom just like the way one can see it in real. It got so real for me that once or twice I stretched out my hand to pull the curtains aside to look outside the window of the bedroom I was in!

Through CF Retina, each and every room including the utility areas and bathrooms could be toured.

In addition, with a voice narrating about each and every room and its facilities, a user is sure to get a first-hand experience similar to the one while visiting an apartment.

Look down wearing the headgear and there is the “BACK” button that helps you return to the previous image. One can see both the exteriors and interiors of a property.

CF Retina helps a customer shortlist flats or apartments that she/he intends to move in. The application makes this process hassle-free, and saves time and money. However, I am still not convinced if a final decision on buying or renting the property could be made through this virtual tour that one undertakes.

The app also brings alive the space, ambience and layout of a property.

Though for me getting started was not as easy as I expected, the interface becomes much better with each use.

Moreover, wearing the headgear, made from Google Cardboard, for more than 10 minutes is uncomfortable because of its rough surface. For Rs 999, I guess, one should expect a device with a much smoother surface.