Virtual reality (or whatever term some picky people would like to apply to it) is the hot new thing. Conventional businesses are trying to incorporate it into their plans, and nothing shouts "conventional business" like a hardware store. To that end, US hardware chain Lowe's is working on some interesting ways to get customers involved in their renovation projects, even before they start putting down plastic sheets. At a few stores in Colorado and Ohio, Lowe's has created special VR stations that will let you recreate an entire room, then swap out 3D appliances, apply different paint colors, and do all kinds of home improvement things while seeing the results in real time with an Oculus Rift headset.
They're calling it the Lowe's Holoroom, because someone on the PR team was a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Here's the cool bit: once you and the Lowe's employee have tweaked the room to your heart's content, presumably spending at least four digits' worth of money to get all the supplies you'll need, the station can copy your creation over to a Google Cardboard-compatible app. You'll then get one of the cheap cardboard headsets of your very own (in a fetching Lowe's blue, of course) so you can check out your selection at home or easily share it with a friend. Neat!
This would be a pretty easy way to get a Google Cardboard headset, too - they're still hard to find unless you make your own. But unfortunately only six stores are equipped with a Holoroom right now, in Dublin, Fairborn, and West Carrolton in Ohio, and Fort Collins, Castle Rock, and Colorado Springs (where I live!) in Colorado. Lowe's says it's expanding the program to more stores in 2016... but unless these expensive setups result in noticeable sales boosts, I wouldn't count on that.