It looks like the future of hairdressing might soon include robots. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Soft Math Lab at Harvard University have teamed up to create “RoboWig,” a robot with the ability to brush and untangle hair.
Essentially, the RoboWig is a robotic arm equipped with a sensorized hairbrush as well as computer vision that helps it to analyze the curliness of someone’s hair and assess the most gentle and effective way to brush them out.
“By developing a model of tangled fibers, we understand from a model-based perspective how hairs must be entangled: starting from the bottom and slowly working the way up to prevent ‘jamming’ of the fibers,” said Josie Hughes, the lead author on a paper about RoboWig. “This is something everyone who has brushed hair has learned from experience, but is now something we can demonstrate through a model, and use to inform a robot.”
At the moment, the RoboWig has only been tested on a variety of wigs of different hairstyles and types, but the team hopes to eventually perform more realistic experiments on humans to get a better grasp on the performance of the robot with regards to potential pain.
Ideally, the team aims to bring this hair-brushing technology to the healthcare system, as it could be very helpful in assisted-care settings where patients often struggle with performing grooming-related tasks by themselves.
To see the RoboWig at work, be sure to check out this MIT CSAIL video below:
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