Augmented reality has really come into the mainstream in recent months with high street furniture retailers using it to ‘try before you buy’. Enabled by the omnipresence of smart phones, this technology is quickly appearing in new sectors and urban planning and interior design is one.

VTT, the Finish research company responsible for this move, uses augmented reality to make digital changes to a physical landscape, allowing users to see how construction or interior efforts will change a space long before the first foundations are dug.

In real time terms, it means you could see the view of the new school development across the road from your doorstep during the planning consultation process or for a director to ‘experience’ his new head office interior before the ink’s even dry on the lease.

In a world obsessed with instant gratification this tool can give us a taste of what’s to come – it removes surprises and gives assurance. We’re all familiar with 3D rendering - buy a new kitchen and you can see how each colour and cupboard design looks until you’ve found the one for you. But augmented reality supersedes this. It digitally overlays 3d design onto real information. It is spatial, showing things at the proper scale and experiential, making things much more realistic than ever before. We can use it to excite investors, wet clients’ appetites, drum up stakeholder support and update on progress.  Its value for architects, urban planners and interior designers is priceless. The question is how quickly we’ll see this become part of our daily working lives.