View Full Version : Lowes to deploy robots

Phil Thien
10-28-2014, 8:17 PM
It was in the WSJ this morning, Lowes is apparently going to deploy customer service robots which will greet you at the door and ask if they can help you find anything.


This is apparently how it works: You send your wife to Lowes with a sample of a 16d nail. She approaches the robot and holds the nail in front of the robot's camera. The robot employs the latest in 3D technology to identify the short piece of welding rod she is holding, and takes your wife to the empty display of welding supplies. Thirty minutes later your wife returns home with some of those tiny paint sample cans (you know, the frightening little ones that tell you your wife is entertaining the notion of you painting something), and no nails.

Frederick Skelly
10-28-2014, 10:06 PM
Interesting. This can probably work, if the image recognition is good AND the robot can reliably reference its current position relative to the bin in which the item is stocked. There will be some people who avoid it - thats inevitable. For example, I avoid self checkouts because I want service from a store. Some may feel that way with Mr. Robot.

Knowing the retail marketing guys, that robot will be programmed to deliberately walk the wives past the paint section, etc, and maybe even slow down while in the vicinity. So we're gonna have to hack the Robot, Phil. Or we're all going to be doing more remodelling than woodworking ;) I can see it now - Woodworkers Against Robots!


curtis rosche
10-28-2014, 10:55 PM
The robot will probably tell you that you cant look through the wood bin either

William Adams
10-28-2014, 11:39 PM
I'm actually waiting to see which hardware store will use a 3D scanner to identify a part, then check stock, then if it's not in stock, print up a quote for either 3D printing or milling a replacement.

Mark Bolton
10-29-2014, 8:25 AM
There was just a story out in wsj about libraries incorporating robots into their operations as well

roger wiegand
10-29-2014, 12:08 PM
Being greeted by an "employee" who might actually know something would certainly be a novelty.

Harry Hagan
10-30-2014, 1:00 PM
I believe Lowes started that program years ago—at least where I live. Some of them look remarkably human.

Jessica Pierce-LaRose
10-30-2014, 4:18 PM
Being greeted by an "employee" who might actually know something would certainly be a novelty.


Myk Rian
10-30-2014, 4:58 PM
I can see it now.

Joe Tilson
10-31-2014, 2:17 PM
They probably are no better than their on-line services. You know, type in nail and everything with a nail in it comes up. Even if you refine, you still get everything with a nail in it.