Lowe’s Innovation Labs Launches Holoroom Virtual Reality Design Tool in U.S.
November 10, 2015
Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the disruptive innovation hub of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., introduced its first proof of concept, the Lowe’s Holoroom in 2014. The augmented reality design experience was successfully tested in stores in the Toronto area for six months and led to the next-generation Lowe’s Holoroom that will be installed in 19 stores across the United States beginning this month.
The Holoroom has evolved from a single platform augmented reality solution to a virtual reality design and visualization tool that leverages Oculus Rift optic technology in stores and Google Cardboard viewers that consumers can take home.
Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Google collaborated to create a shareable Holoroom experience that combines YouTube’s 360-degree video capabilities with Google Cardboard to enable customers to enjoy and share their virtual kitchen or bathroom design whenever and wherever they choose.
“The next-generation Holoroom continues to fulfill our long-term vision for how augmented and virtual reality technologies can help customers have more confidence and more fun with home improvement,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “We can’t wait to see what our customers create as they bring their imagination to life with these new tools.”
Lowe’s Innovation Labs has also has partnered with aerospace company Made in Space, to become the first to launch a commercial 3D printer to space. The printer, the first permanent additive manufacturing facility for the International Space Station (ISS), will bring tools and technology to astronauts in space.
The Lowe’s 3D printer is slated to arrive at the ISS in early 2016, making Lowe’s the first retailer to have a presence in space. From 200 miles above Earth, astronauts can use 3D printing technology to create a tool on demand and produce parts they may not have onboard and immediately available. Customers are already using Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ 3D scanning and printing services to produce custom or hard-to-find replacement parts.
“For the first time, astronauts can now manufacture what they need, when they need it in space,” said Jason Dunn, chief technology officer and co-founder of Made in Space. “We have successfully demonstrated the technology’s capabilities in space. And now with the launch of the permanent additive manufacturing facility to the ISS, we are enabling humanity to manufacture things off the planet.”
Lowe’s created Lowe’s Innovation Labs in 2014 to develop disruptive technologies by bringing together uncommon partners with a commitment to get technology out of the lab and into the real world. In its first year, Lowe’s Innovation Labs collaborated with startups to introduce the first-generation Lowe’s Holoroom, the OSHbot autonomous retail service robot and in-store and online 3D scanning and printing.