“Inside a Lowe’s store in Christiansburg, Va., an employee easily plucks a 40-pound air conditioner from a shelf, assisted by a robotic-looking suit that helps with heavy lifting. The contraption, resembling a harness the Terminator might wear, is built with carbon fiber rods that act as extra artificial tendons, giving workers bodybuilder strength and, the company hopes, increased productivity. The so-called exoskeleton was created by Lowe’s Innovation Labs in partnership with Virginia Tech university.”
“Other sci-fi experiments from Lowe’s labs include Holoroom How To, a virtual reality tool for teaching customers to do basic home renovations. For example, people who put on a VR headset can crouch down and
“Yet, no matter how cool all these innovations may be, Lowe’s has, so far, put them to use in a handful of stores. The exoskeleton, for example, is being tested at only one store out of more than 1,800 in the U.S., while the Holoroom How To is available in just one U.S. outlet and another two in Canada. It’s easy to understand why many are skeptical about retail innovation. A lot of store technology pitched as the future ends up being adopted more slowly than expected — or never. Whatever happened to beacons, a technology that lets retailers zap coupons to shoppers’ smartphones while they’re in the store? Or RFID tags, small sensors that were supposed to revolutionize how retailers track inventory? So far, both have failed to live up to the hype.”
The following Fortune video gives an overview of the suit that gives employees super-human strength.