Lowe’s introduces customer service robots to help customers

In this undated image provided by Lowe's, a woman holds a nail up to be scanned by an OSHbot robot. The robots 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. (AP Photo/Lowe's)

NEW YORK (AP) — Lowe’s is testing whether robots can improve customer service in its stores.

The machines look like white columns with two large screens on either side of them. They have wheels that allow them move and are equipped with 3D cameras to scan and identify items.

Customers can research items they are looking for on the screens, and the robot can lead them to the aisle where an item is located.

The robots also have a database of the store’s inventory, so they can let customers know whether something is in stock.

The head of Lowes’ Innovation lab, Kyle Nel, says people can come in “with a random screw and say Mr. Robot, I need more of these,” and find it.

Lowe’s is testing four robots at its Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California.

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

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