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Lowe’s Tests Microsoft HoloLens VR Headset For Kitchen Remodeling

Home-improvement chain Lowe’s launched a pilot program to test the use of Microsoft’s HoloLens holographic VR headset to help shoppers remodel their kitchens.

Lowe’s is piloting its HoloLens-powered kitchen remodeling capability in a Seattle-area store and will expand it to a Raleigh, N.C., store, the companies announced.

Consumers will don the untetheredWindows 10 device to view options for kitchen cabinetry, countertops, appliances, backsplashes and the like. Consumers will be able to “experience a holographic representation of a completely new kitchen, adjust finishes and options instantly, and share their designs easily online,” said HoloLens GM Scott Erickson.

By using the HoloLens, Lowe’s lets customers view full-scale design and appliance options while conserving floor space, he said.

People will be able to view large items such as cabinets, appliances and countertops “in size and scale with incredibly high-definition options and detailed finishes,” he said. Viewers will be able to see the difference between shiny chrome appliance finishes and matte-brushed aluminum finishes, he noted.

Customers will also be able to change the look of a showroom space by adjusting the size and shape of an island and viewing virtual design options against physical counter stools in “mixed reality.” With mixed reality, “customers can remain within the physical kitchenette and view options and adjustments to that existing physical space, alongside physical options, in the form of holograms,” he explained.

The HoloLens incorporates see-through holographic lenses and an optical projection system to make full-color holograms appear in the wearer’s real-world environment.

In-store designers, spouses or friends can view what the customer is seeing in real time through a hand-held Surface tablet.

In the future, consumers could view renovation options while inside their house, viewing holograms of custom kitchen cabinets and appliances within the home’s existing kitchen space, Microsoft said.

Microsoft plans March 30 shipments of the HoloLens Development Edition for app developers. Microsoft announced plans last October to develop the HoloLens, which does not need a computer or smartphone to deliver a VR experience. The company hasn’t said when the consumer version would be available.