The No. 2 home improvement company in the U.S., Mooresville-based Lowe’s Cos., is touting a new title: first retailer in space.
Lowe’s Innovation Labs is partnering with aerospace company Made in Space to launch a commercial 3-D printer into space.
The printer is expected to arrive at the International Space Station in early 2016, making Lowe’s the first retailer to have a presence in space, the Mooresville company said Thursday. The printer will allow astronauts 200 miles above Earth to create tools and parts on demand that they may not have on board.
Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, said the collaboration with Made in Space is “just the beginning” of a partnership aimed at bringing tools to space and new technology to Earth.
“Lowe’s and Made in Space share a vision of how 3D printing can revolutionize retail and home improvement, while also changing the way astronauts work in space,” Nel said.
Lowe’s has been investing in other high-tech innovations, too. Its robotic sales associate OSHBot debuted in a San Jose, Calif., store in 2014, and Lowe’s also said Thursday its virtual reality design tool Holoroom, which allows shoppers to visualize a room they are remodeling, will be installed in 19 stores across the U.S. beginning next month.