Let's face it, home improvements are a complicated and messy business. Hardware retail chain Lowes would like to take some of the guesswork out of household upgrades. The company just unveiled what it calls the Lowes Holoroom which lets shoppers test drive its wares in an interactive virtual environment.
Essentially the Holoroom is a mock living space which provides a blank canvass on which computer-generated objects are projected. Don't get too excited though, this isn't a real life holodeck ripped from the Star Trek universe. Instead of force fields and transporter technology, the Lowes Holoroom creates an artificial world that lives within software only. To view this virtual space users must gaze through the window of a specially equipped iPad tablet screen.
Still, even though there are no true holograms at play here this solution is quite impressive. The power of the Holoroom lies in having the chance to see detailed views of kitchen, bathroom, and other living spaces complete with textured countertops and accurate colors. Want to see just how well (or not) the paint you picked out goes with that counter top? No problem. The same goes for faucets and other fixtures which may or may not fit together properly.
Want to give the Holoroom a try? Sadly you'll have to wait until fall of 2014 and be fortunate to be in Canada and at four select Lowes stores. Lowes does plan to bring the service to locations in the US but hasn't said precisely when this will happen. That said, it isn't unreasonable to envision customers one day downloading a Holoroom app, scanning their bathroom, then filling it with potential products themselves without walking out their front door.