Microsoft and Lowe’s today announced a pilot project that will bring Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality visor to a select number of Lowe’s home improvement stores. Using HoloLens, Lowe’s plans to give shoppers the ability to see different design options for their kitchens, countertops, appliances, etc. without having to actually assemble them.
Lowe’s will first use HoloLens in a few pilot stores in the Seattle area, where it will focus on kitchen remodels. Using HoloLens’s holograms, customers there will be able to select faucets, the size of their kitchen islands, and other options for their remodels. After that, it will begin another pilot in North Carolina, too.
Thanks to all of this, you soon won’t have to wonder (and maybe make a few return trips to the store) whether that stainless steel faucet or the more Trump-like gold faucet would look better in your kitchen.
The broader vision here is to re-imagine what home remodeling in general will look like in the future. Microsoft argues that ‘mixed reality’ (the company’s preferred term for augmented reality) allows customers to remain within the physical kitchen model and “view options and adjustments to that existing physical space, alongside physical options, in the form of holograms.” In the long run, the company wants to tackle other home remodeling areas as well.
“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 writes today. “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.”
The $3,000 developer edition of HoloLens is going on sale on March 30, which is also the first day of Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference. We expect to hear quite a bit more about Microsoft’s plans for its ‘holographic operating system’ then.