Kyle Nel likes to say that a new “exosuit” that Lowe’s Cos. Inc. is experimenting with gives store employees superpowers.
Those powers are probably something short of super, but it does help employees of the home-improvement chain (NYSE: LOW) lift heavy objects without putting as much stress on their back and joints.Nel is executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, which the company calls its “disruptive technology hub.”
The lightweight “suits” are worn by the employees, attached by plastic snaps. Carbon-fiber bands absorb the energy when an employee bends to pick up an item and then spring back to aid in the lifting.
As a result, the bag of concrete or the five-gallon pail of paint seems lighter to the exosuited employees. The employees also suffer from less muscle fatigue, the company says.
Nel says the important part of the exosuit experiment is to find a way assist employees in serving Lowe’s customers.
A pilot program for the exosuit is underway at Lowe’s Christiansburg, Virginia, store. Four suits are being used as a part of that test program.