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The newest addition to Lowe’s toolkit: a robot sales associate

Lowe’s newest employee is its most groundbreaking power tool yet. Say hello to OSHbot the robot sales associate.

At the end of November, OSHbot will be wheeling around an Orchard Supply Hardware in San Jose, Calif., guiding shoppers to specific screwdrivers or saws.

The lightbulb innovation came from Lowe’s Innovation Labs. They collaborated with Singularity University and Fellow Robots to create OSHbot in under a year.

Customers can hold a conversation with OSHbot, a five-foot-tall white bot, in English or Spanish. The robot is outfitted with front and back touch screens that also respond to hand gestures.

Photo courtesy Fellow Robots

The retail robot can read hand gestures and help customers find old or broken items that need to be replaced. Photo courtesy Fellow Robots

Even if customers can’t express exactly what they’re looking for, OSHbot knows the drill. Its head is equipped with a 3D scanner. Customers can bring in a burned out lightbulb or rusted nail, and OSHbot will lead them to new, purchasable counterparts.

Is OSHbot hammering another nail into the human worker’s coffin? According to Kyle Nel, executive director of the Innovation Lab, the robot will give human employees more time to help customers plan home improvement projects.

“What our sales associates are amazing at doing and what they love spending time on are consulting and helping customers with their projects and solving their problems,” Nel told Ad Age. “We can let the robots answer questions like, ‘where are the hammers?'”

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