Robot performs hair transplant

Los Angeles: A robot that performs hair transplants more naturally than humans has been developed by a Californian company.

Restoration Robotics, says its robot can also pluck and move individual hair follicles twice as fast as humans, with less pain and scarring for the patient.

At the moment a surgeon must carry out a very time consuming and repetitive procedure of removing a strip of hairy scalp, separating it into individual hair follicle “bulbs”, and painstakingly implanting them in one millimeter wide incisions across bald parts of the head, according to an article in New Scientists magazine.

The robot plucks healthy follicles individually, at a rate up to 1000 an hour. He revealed that a one millimeter hollow needle removes the follicles using suction. Guided by cameras and 3D imaging software, the device is mounted on an arm normally used to place microchips on circuit boards

Officials at Restoration Robotics claimed that, while manual transplants might take around eight to 10 hours, their robot could complete the process in about five hours. The robot also had the ability to design a patient’s hairline on a computer, which could be important for giving the transplanted hair a more natural look.

The robot, which is currently honing its skills on volunteers, is expected to be used in full clinical trials later this year.