The humble hardware store is getting a lot more high-tech.
One of the most well-known employees at the Orchard Supply Hardware store in downtown San Jose, California, is a 5-foot-tall autonomous robot. OSHbot, as he’s called, just recently celebrated his one-year anniversary at the store, which is owned by Lowe’s. His job is twofold: to help customers find items they need, and help store managers with inventory tracking. When I approached OSHbot, his facial-recognition technology identified me as a human customer and he cordially introduced himself. “Hi, I’m OSHbot,” he said in a monotone voice. “I can help you find things in the store. What are you looking for?”