When you think about virtual or augmented reality, you likely think of the videos that have been circulated throughout the internet of people wearing headsets to experience everything from video games to roller coasters. You may also think of apps that allow users to envision how certain hairstyles or colors would look on them without having to go to the salon. These technologies involve manipulating perceptions of the real world by manifesting unreal objects or changing the physical appearance of real objects. Before I tell you about this next startup, I want to clarify some commonly misused terms.

What's the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality? Augmented reality (AR) works for instance with your smartphone camera in order to manipulate the real world by adding interactive objects and changing the appearance of real items. Virtual reality (VR), which is more familiar to most people, involves computer-generated environments developed using the software. Virtual reality can be experienced through sight or sound and the environment experienced is completely fabricated. Virtual reality can be used to make video game characters appear to us just like other objects in the real world and augmented reality can be used to change the color or appearance of already existing objects like manipulating the paint shade on your wall or the shade of highlights in your hair.

Some industries, like the gaming industry, are easy to associate with virtual and augmented reality but what about flooring? The UK-based augmented reality, tech startup FloorSwitch is hoping to revolutionize the flooring industry. While flooring is not typically considered an adaptive industry when it comes to technology, FloorSwitch is using their augmented reality app to help users envision their new flooring plans. Users can request samples using the app's visual search engine. Once a sample is requested, users can visually replace their current flooring using AR to get an idea of how new flooring would look in their home. The app was created to represent the most accurate visual representation of what a user would see upon replacing flooring without actually the actual work and money having to be spent for the replacement process.

The app also saves the company money by eliminating the cost of producing and sending samples for customers to estimate how their new flooring will appear in their home.

As a semi-permanent structure, it is clear that not only is renovating flooring a major project, installing a floor is a massive investment in both your time and money. As a result, any mistake made during this process will be a very costly endeavor.

So you're redoing some floors and you're not quite sure which color is going to go best with your couch and loveseat or you want to know what the difference is between the 12 shades of off-white a company offers? What's the big advantage of using AR versus going to store and/or requesting samples? According to FloorSwitch, choosing new flooring is a lot more reviewing than matching floor samples. There are multiple factors which affect how well flooring will match your home. The material (tile, wood, stone, carpet etc.), design and style choice all factor into how particular flooring choices change the ambiance and style of your home. Though samples can be requested, it can be difficult to understand how the entire floor, corners, and pathways will look once a flooring job is completed.

FloorSwitch says that what samples don't allow customers to anticipate is the fact that material can lead to design restrictions and limit adaptability and customization. According to their site, buyer's regret is one of the biggest pitfalls in the flooring industry so allowing customers to visualize everything from fluffy carpets to artificial grass will help customers better determine what the final outcome will look like before money and time are spent on changing their home.

Using a flooring visualization tool will ultimately empower users when it comes to making a decision about their floors. As a completely free service with a number of added benefits for the user, it is clear to see why FloorSwitch is building up such a hype within both the Flooring industry and the mobile technology sector.

Excited? Want to go out and download this app right now? Well the app will be available this year so before you get started on that new renovation project, be sure to check the app store to see if it's available.

floorswitch.com