Now in aisle 3 at Lowe’s: robots

NEW YORK — The robots are coming.

Lowe’s is testing whether new bots on wheels can improve its customer service, like helping a shopper find a match for something as simple as a nail.

Four robots are being tested an Orchard Supply Hardware store owned by Lowe’s Companies Inc. in San Jose, California.

The robots dubbed OSHbots look like white columns with two large black screens on either side of them, and wheels to help them move. They are equipped with 3D cameras so they can scan and identify items. And customers can research items they want to buy on their screen. Then the robot can lead them to the aisle where an item is located.

“They’re based on making a science fiction story a reality,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Lab.

The robots also have a database of what inventory is in stock at the store, so they can let customers know if something is out of stock or not.

“People can come in with a random screw and say Mr. Robot, I need more of these, and if we do have it in the store, they can find it,” Nel said. The robots can speak in English and Spanish.

Lowe’s started working with Fellow Robots, a technology company in Silicon Valley, in November to develop the robots. The cost of the project is undisclosed.

Lowe’s has been working on infusing more technology into its customer service. It has also developed a “holoroom” that can let users see what different pieces of furniture look like in different rooms in a virtual-reality environment.

Lowe’s shares rose 34 cents to $55.81 in afternoon trading Tuesday. Its shares have risen more than 11 percent over the past year.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Big new apartment complex anchors Broadway’s transformation

The seven-story, 140-unit Kinect @ Broadway is one of several facelifting projects in Everett’s core.

Marysville sues Arlington over plan for 500 apartments

Marysville worries the major project on 51st Avenue NE will gum up traffic at a nearby intersection.

Dining in the street is now an official thing in Everett

With a free permit, businesses can expand outdoor seating to street parking areas — and fencing is provided.

Tourism takes a vacation, and many businesses are hurting

With people staying home, do you scale back activities and events — or do you close?

Everett’s new equity manager is ready to roll up her sleeves

In her new job, Kay Barnes will work to ensure that the city’s staff reflects Everett’s diversity.

Everett startup makes a swift pivot from in-person to online

Abacus links hobbyists, crafters and artists with people who want to learn new skills — virtually.

Pop into this Everett pop-up store for new vinyl records

Upper Left Records will offer albums from local bands and new pressings of classic recordings.

Glacier Lanes won’t be spared: Owners decide to close forever

Bowlers statewide are rallying to open venues shut by COVID rules, but this Everett business isn’t waiting.

Snohomish County PUD embraces ‘smart’ meters despite concerns

A handful of customers said they were worried about privacy, peak-hour rate increases and safety.

FAA: Boeing pressured safety workers at S.C. aircraft plant

Federal officials are seeking to fine Boeing $1.25 million for practices related to 787 inspection oversight.

Microsoft tries to salvage deal to buy TikTok, appease Trump

The president had floated plans for an outright ban of the app on national security grounds.

COVID and road closures have hampered Rucker Ave. businesses

The streetscape looks better, but pedestrian traffic hasn’t returned.