The future of augmented reality could change the way we do almost everything, from shopping to entertainment to communication. This last week, however, has been a big one for the shopping space, as Lowe’s and Microsoft have teamed to offer an interactive augmented reality experience within a Lowe’s store in Lynwood, Washington. Later this month customers will be able to remodel their kitchen within the store in a virtual world of augmented reality via Microsoft’s HoloLens device. The Lynwood store will act as a test grounds for the technology, prior to a likely expansion within the Seattle and North Carolina areas. In fact, Lowe’s is already planning to roll out the HoloLens remodeling application as part of another pilot program in a North Carolina store.
The way the system works is rather simple. Users are able to place the Microsoft HoloLens device on their head and instantly be transported to a kitchen warehouse. Here they are able to redesign a kitchen within a virtual environment. The user is able to interact with the design, changing key features such as countertops, tables and cabinets. This will allow customers to get a full 360 degree look at their kitchen design prior to it ever being built. According to Lowe’s this new technology will likely save customers time and the expense of having to change their mind halfway through a build.
“Whereas kitchens and showrooms are just the beginning, we imagine that a solution like this would be an ideal way to view renovation options in individual homes,” HoloLens general manager Scott Erickson wrote. “In the same way that people often place tape or cardboard outlines of new furniture in their living rooms to properly assess size and scale relative to physical options – imagine a more high-quality, easily modifiable replacement to that task, powered by holograms.”
According to Microsoft, the virtual or augmented environment that Lowe’s customers will enter via the HoloLens will be extremely high quality, allowing them to choose styles and view their kitchen design down to fine details. They will be able to distinguish between shiny chrome appliances versus matte brushed aluminum options. This is likely just the beginning of a number of useful augmented reality applications for both Microsoft and Lowe’s, as the companies eventually hope to roll such technology into other areas of home design. Let’s hear your thoughts on this partnership in the Lowe’s HoloLens forum on VRTalk.com.