Lowe’s, Google Tango Bring Augmented Reality to Home Improvement

Lowe’s Vision app uses Google Tango technology to help customers visualize new products in their home. It’s augmented reality for the home improvement market.


Lowe's made its first strides into the future of home improvement at CES 2015, when it demonstrated two developments of Lowe's Innovation Labs, the company's self-proclaimed “disruptive innovation hub.”

The first was an Autonomous Retail Service Robot (ARSR) designed to help Lowe's shoppers find what they needed in the store. The second was an augmented reality experience called Holoroom that allowed users to select fixtures and finishes, and then pan and tilt a tablet to see how a room looked in every direction. At CES, Lowe’s showed the technology incorporated into Oculus Rift.

CE Pro editor Julie Jacobson wrote about the experience and then said, wait a minute, what about an app?

“Why not implement the robotic and hologrammatic features in a simple app and tie it to the local Lowe’s store?” she asked.

Turns out, that's exactly what they did. The home improvement chain has released Lowe's Vision, an app that allows customers to visualize home furnishings, fixtures and appliances in their home through augmented reality. They can place items, no matter how big or how small, virtually in the rooms of their house before even beginning a project.

The app uses Tango, a Google technology that takes computer vision software and put it on a smartphone for personalized augmented reality.

Lowe's Vision is available on Google Play and works with the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first Tango-enabled smartphone. Lowe's will sell the $500 Phab 2 Pro starting just before the holidays this year.

How Tango and Lowe's Work Together

Tango is basically a set of sensors and computer vision software from Google that senses and maps the surroundings. By leveraging Tango, Lowe's Vision creates a 3D depth sense allowing customers to measure spaces and visualize how new products will work in an existing space.

The Tango software provides an idea of what a certain shade of hardwood flooring will look like in a living room. It can confirm a suspicion that a certain appliance won't actually fit in the space provided.

Tango has been used for gaming and educational purposes as well, but Lowe's is providing a real-world solution not only for interior designers and DIY-ers but perhaps for integrators hoping to give clients an idea of what their home could look like post-renovation.

“Lowe's Vision and Tango bring our customers one step closer toward eliminating the challenge of visualizing a completed home improvement project,” says Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs. “Tango transforms the smartphone into a digital power tool that helps customers measure and style spaces in their home with confidence.”

Lowe's Vision Features

  • Power Measure: Quickly and intuitively capture room dimensions and other interior space and surface measurements with the world's most powerful digital tape measure.
  • 3D Designer: Select any item from Lowe's virtual library and place it in the home in real-time to style and preview indoor spaces.
  • Save, Snap & Share: After designing the perfect space, save the project and  share photos with friends or a professional contractor.
  • Shopping Lists and Reviews: Create a shareable shopping list and save to a myLowe's account. Find additional product information like reviews, related items and promotions. 

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is set to be available on Lowes.com/lowesvision and in select Lowe's stores by early December.

Lowe's Vision is available for free download in the Google Play Store.


About the Author

Chelsea Cafiero:

Chelsea Cafiero is Senior Web Editor of CE Pro. She also manages the corresponding websites of sister publications Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration, Campus Safety and Electronic House. Chelsea has previously covered politics, local news and consumer electronics. She joined the CE Pro family in 2012.