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Hair-washing robot to aid aging population as an at-home innovation

By Pooja Kondhia , 27-Sep-2011
Last updated the 27-Sep-2011 at 17:08 GMT

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has developed a robot that can wash and dry hair, tapping into an aging population and the trend for at-home electronic devices.

A robot that can complete the entire process of hair washing automatically, from wetting to shampooing, rinsing, conditioning and drying hits cosmetic industry issues and trends such as a globally aging population as well as a boom in at-home electronic devices.

Age and health aide

Japan has had the world’s longest life expectancy for the past 25 years, especially for women. This, coupled with an overall globally aging population is driving new innovations targeted within the health and comfort categories.

According to figures from market analyst Euromonitor, the world population aged 50 reached 22 percent in 2010 and is set to rise to over 25 percent by 2020.

Likewise, Euromonitor expects the percentage of the population aged over 65 to grow by 15 percent from 2010 – 15.

As such, age is spurring innovation to aide health and looks, and Japan leads the way in a category where an increasing number of new product launches are seen every year, including the Hair-Washing Robot.

At-home devices

Panasonic’s robot also hits the at-home electronic devices trend, which has seen a global boom in demand within the cosmetics industry of late.

According to Mintel, this emerging category, valued at $1bn at the retail level in 2011, is set to grow at an industry-leading rate over the course of the next five years.

This also taps in to the professional hair care industry as it can potentially be utilized in salons for washing and drying hair.

Panasonic’s latest development

The Hair-Washing Robot has been developed using Panasonic's robot hand technology. It scans the head shape to perform a series of hair-washing processes.

The robot can store the data of each person's head shape and preferred washing mode to meet everyday hair-washing and scalp care.

The robot’s functions consist of the following:

  • Co-ordinated control of the arms and the back-of-head mechanism allows for washing of a wider range of the head. The robot has 24 fingers that wash the head using 3D pressure-control technology.
  • The robot is equipped with a conditioner function and a simple dryer so it can assist the total process from washing through drying.
  • There is also a spot massage-washing function which can be accessed using the advanced touch-panel interface enabling the user to specify the spot to be washed, massaging pressure, and washing mode.

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