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AR Meets AI in Apple iPhone and iPad—magicplan 8 Enters New Dimension

Magicplan 8 enters the next stage of its evolution with new AR + AI — taking room scanning software into the third dimension.

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Magicplan 8 was introduced this month, eight years after it was brought to the world for the very first time, allowing users of Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad devices to automatically measure, draw, and publish an interactive floor plan, just by taking pictures via an app on their Apple mobile device.

Eight years and 18 million downloads later, Magicplan 8 combines the power of augmented reality (AR) through ARKit with artificial intelligence (AI), utilizing Apple’s Core ML framework, to now enable users to scan rooms in 3D.

ARKit + Apple Core ML

Apple’s two operating system technologies tackle the chore of empowering apps to provide both the AR and machine learning AI in Magicplan 8. Once a room is scanned with an iPhone or iPad using Magicplan 8, the app automatically detects and captures windows and doors—adding these dimensions to the digital floor plan. Mapping of three-dimensional spaces is now placed into the hands of every iOS user worldwide.

From Vision to Realization

The Magicplan team pursued one goal right from the very beginning, says the company, to allow the automatic planning and realization of projects around the house by capturing data from existing built space.

01 – Magicplan 8 adds AI to AR using Apple’s powerful technology to provide unique mobile device offering for automatic creation of 3D floor plans from scanned environments.

Since Magicplan 1.0, mobile devices could be utilized for the creation of digital, 2D floor plans and data capturing with AR. Magicplan 8 now introduces the third-dimension to take Magicplan into the world of 3D capture.

Using AI to Scan Rooms

Magicplan 8 captures a floor’s shape and size as well as the ceiling height. It utilizes real-time image recognition and processing through AI (artificial intelligence) using Apple’s Core ML combined with the iPhone or iPad’s powerful cameras to automatically recognize elements and sizes of walls, doors, windows during the floor plan creation process. Apple Core ML is a machine learning library built into their operating systems.

02 – A screenshot of Magicplan 8 and its UI overlaid on the iPad or iPhone’s camera scene.

While there are many systems for mobile devices to help users capture floor plans and spaces, Magicplan 8 involves no post-processing workflow, which streamlines the core activities which are useful in AEC fields and related fields like real estate.

Future Plans

3D room scanning and automatic capture of windows and doors is just the beginning, says Magicplan, which has offices in Germany, Canada, France, and Singapore. The company plans to advance this offering in the near future so that AR + AI can capture all details of a room including furniture and equipment, all in 3D. All the data in a room will be recorded, recognized and systematically utilize the power of AI.

Pricing and Plans

Magicplan 8 offers multiple use plans, from $2.99 per plan to standard and business monthly rate subscriptions per user starting at $8.33 to enterprise plans with special per case pricing.

To learn more visit them here.

To see the app in action watch the video below.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

Magicplan 8 utilizes Apple’s ARKit technology which taps the power of the iPad and iPhone’s powerful cameras. Interested readers should be aware of which iOS device supports this app. One key item that users have noted is that the app measures the rooms (see picture above) using the lower corners of the room at the floor level and apparently some readers feel that the ceiling corners should be allowable to use to scan rooms as well. This would help in cases where furniture is in the way of room corners at the floor. 

That particular concern is more applicable to survey work of existing furnished spaces. Architects evaluating existing buildings for renovation are often inside buildings without any occupant, and thus no furniture. But that is not always the case. The point above is valid. Readers should also be aware that these types of scanning and mobile survey apps are often challenging to learn at first. That is because the workflow is so different than other types of computerized functions we deal with. In reviews online, there are always many complaints that upon closer inspection are invalid because the user isn’t using the software correctly. These apps take a bit longer to master but once you have they are very productivity boosting tools. 

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