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Lowe’s Unveils VR Clinic For DIY Home Improvement

Learn all the blue-collar skills you’ll need to tackle that scary home project.

Whether you’re tiling a bathroom or simply painting the living room, DIY home improvement can be one hell of a project. Even if you’re a professional the process can be time-consuming and expensive depending on the type of job. However if you’re like me and embarrassingly out of touch with the skills and knowledge necessary to handle such demanding work, the task can seem almost impossible.

Lowe’s sympathizes with your concerns and as part of their never-ending battle to make home maintenance simple and easy has debuted a brand new DIY clinic that uses virtual reality to train you in the proper procedures and methods of various improvement projects. Put simply: You can practice drilling a hole in the wall without ruining your bathroom in the process.

The latest edition to the Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ Holoroom experience, Holoroom How To is an on-demand virtual reality tool that uses said immersive tech combined with step-by-step instructions to educate and assist users in the proper completion of a variety of complex home projects. Once users put on the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset depending on the location, they are instantly transported into a realistic work environment that features haptic feedback on the controllers for maximum immersion. This means users feel their work, like the brush as it slides across the fence or the vibrating sensation of a high-power drill as it screws through the wall.

Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the company’s innovation hub, elaborated on their intentions further: “During the past three years, we have been exploring real-life applications of augmented and virtual reality experiences to directly help our customers solve everyday problems. Our experience has shown that customers are embracing AR/VR as part of their home improvement journey, and now, we are using immersive VR to help our customers learn the required skills to complete challenging home improvement projects.”

A pilot version of Holoroom How To is currently open to the public at the Lowe’s in Framingham, Massachusetts, but in the coming weeks several other installations will be launching at Lowe’s in Burlington, Canada and RONA, a subsidiary of Lowe’s Big Box, in Beloeil, Québec.

There is room for even more expansion however, as the FORTUNE 50 company will be closely monitoring how effective the program is at truly increasing user’s skillsets and confidence. Hopefully the program proves to be a cost-effective tool in home improvement training and spreads to more Lowe’s locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico. I could definitely use the extra hand over here in New York…

About the Scout

Kyle Melnick

Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He's also a part-time bounty hunter.

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