New 3D Hair Technology
As part of my work, I keep a keen eye on new digital technologies and how they can enhance healthcare. I am always fascinated and amazed at emerging technologies, and this week I was really excited to learn about the latest in 3D hair printing.
An Italian company Cesare Ragazzi Laboratories has pioneered the process of what is essentially a 3D printed prosthetic which works as a ‘second scalp.’ The the CNC hair system is the closest thing possible to real human hair. It is designed to replicate your own hair in texture, colour, thickness and even which direction the hair naturally falls. And unlike a wig, it stays in place – you can shower, swim, play sports, style your hair, and it stays as firmly in place as your natural scalp does.
The process starts by taking a mold of the client’s scalp and carefully mapping the areas of hair loss. The mold is used to create a 3D model, which is then printed in a patented micro-thin, breathable bio-polymer material, creating a membrane perfectly customized to the client’s head. The membrane is antibacterial and antifungal, and even adapts to changes in the wearer’s body temperature. A hair sample is also taken from the client and used to find a perfect match. Once a match is found, a technician carefully sews the hair, piece by piece, into the membrane, replicating the hair’s natural direction of growth. The membrane is then attached to the scalp of the client using a special medical adhesive.
The hairpieces are already available in salons and specialized treatment clinics in 12 states in the US, as well as 12 other countries. However they aren’t cheap with prices ranging between $2,000 to $15,000. Still it’s encouraging to know that technology is moving in this direction and with time costs may come down.