A hair transplant performed by a robot could be less painful and give a more natural result, claims a US firm. Restoration Robotics has created an automaton that works in a similar way that other robot surgeons do when synchronising with the movements of a beating heart, and can bestow a full head of hair on a slaphead in around five hours. Restoration Robotics' Frederic Moll, explains how his hair'bot works below.
The device plucks individual hairs, follicle and all, from the patient's scalp, using suction through a one-millimeter needle guided by cameras and 3D-imaging software. It is mounted on a robotic arm normally used in circuit board manufacturing. The hairs are then implanted back into the patient's scalp.
"It understands what trajectory it needs to get follicles out of the scalp, compensating in real time if the patient moves slightly," says Moll. As well as the transplant itself, the machine can design the hairline on the computer. ("Perhaps Sir would prefer the 'Eddie Munster' instead.")
Less intrusive than the current procedure, which removes strips of the patient's scalp using local anaesthetic, the machine could be undergoing clinical trials by the end of the year. [New Scientist]