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Home renovations get futuristic at Lowe’s

Gemma Karstens-Smith

Toronto Star
June 14, 2014

Science fiction is helping home owners build a better bathroom.

Home improvement store Lowe’s is launching a new “holoroom” 3D simulator in two Toronto stores this fall. The simulator will allow shoppers to view their renovated room virtually and detect possible issues before a hammer is ever swung.

Using the new holoroom, shoppers will work with pre-built templates to design their perfect room on an iPad, picking everything from paint colour to cupboards. Once they have a design they like, they’ll be able to take the iPad into a physical 20’ by 20’ space where they can to see exactly what they’ve created and make adjustments.

The simulator gives people a better idea of how features are laid out, preventing issues such as a shower being too close to a vanity.

“It really gets to the heart of the fact that a lot of home improvement projects are stressful because it’s hard to envision your project when it’s completed, it’s hard to communicate that to someone else,” said Lowe’s spokeswoman Amanda Manna. “It takes a lot of the guess work out of the project.”

All of the products in the holoroom will be real Lowe’s products and the technology will let shoppers see things such as wood grain and countertop texture in detail to make sure they’ve got a perfect fit. Having the actual product IDs will make it easy to order each piece of the room.

When they go home, shoppers can download an app where they can see a miniature version of their 3D model and continue to tinker with the design.

In the future, shoppers may be able to do the entire process from home, Manna said. The vision is to eventually have Lowe’s employees come out to shopper’s homes to scan rooms and help them visualize their renovated space without ever having to step into a store, she explained.

The 3D simulator is the first idea to come out of Lowe’s new “Innovation Labs.” The company teamed up with SciFutures for the project, and science fiction writers were hired to turn Lowe’s trends and marketing data into futuristic ideas the company could turn into reality. Writers presented their ideas to company executives in comic book form, and the executives picked the holoroom story, Manna said.

Which stores will get the holorooms first hasn’t yet been decided, Manna said, but the first two will come to Toronto this fall.

Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 01:00PM by Registered CommenterElaine in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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