It goes without saying that Woolworths’ misfiring attempt to challenge in the Australian big box hardware space has thus far been a bit of a damp squib. Masters has cost Woolworths hundreds of millions of dollars and the retailer is in desperate need of something new, unique and special to stand it out from the monolith that is Bunnings.

Thankfully, UnderCurrent opines, technology is here to help. Over in the United States, Woolworths’ joint venture partner Lowe’s has just debuted the latest weapon in bricks and mortar retailing’s ongoing struggle to stay relevant: android sales assistants.

Lowe’s unveiled the new retail robots at Orchard Supply, one of its retail brands, stores in San Jose, California. Called OSHBots, the robots can speak both English and Spanish, have cameras to detect and identify products and can lead customers to the correct aisle once they have qualified exactly what product they are in need of. UnderCurrent would like to stress that this is a real thing:

According to videos doing the rounds on the internet, these robots can host more detailed customer service inquiries through a video conferencing application and can host advertising on their iPad-like touchscreen displays. UnderCurrent would once again like to stress that this is a real thing.

“They’re based on making a science fiction story a reality,” said Lowe’s innovation director Kyle Nel. “People can come in with a random screw and say, ‘Mr. Robot, I need more of these,’ and if we do have it in the store, they can find it.”

UnderCurrent would like to conclude by stressing that this is a real thing.