Facing the increasingly serious problem of alopecia, hair transplant has become a magic weapon for many people to save their lives. However, the expansion of the hair transplant market and the shortage of professionals have also made this project, which relies on professional doctors, confusing. The intervention of artificial intelligence, robots and other technologies is likely to become a new force to change this industry. Can the hair loss problem be completely cured under the condition of continuous technological progress?
Hair loss has become the most serious threat in this era.
From the hot sale of hair care products on e-commerce platforms to the ubiquitous hair transplant advertisements, to the hot topic of hair loss in major forums, we can see people’s deep anxiety about hair.
The issue of hairline is also a daily issue for many movie stars.
However, the hair loss incident has not spared any group.
Hair loss also favors sports. Ginobili, the demon sword, has been in the NBA for many years, but his hair has been retired prematurely.
Hair loss has been a problem since ancient times. For thousands of years, numerous historical figures such as Socrates, Caesar, Shakespeare, Napoleon, Darwin and Churchill have been troubled by hair loss. However, there are also many records of “medicinal herbs” for the treatment of pigeon droppings, hedgehog stings and alabaster.
The current pace of life and pressure have intensified this phenomenon.
The age of hair loss in the British royal family is getting earlier and earlier.
Some even joked, “Sudden death is not the most worrying problem for contemporary youth, alopecia is. 」
Desperate hairline, who is its lifeline
According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, one out of every five people is troubled by alopecia, while the population of alopecia in China has reached an astonishing 250 million.
Moreover, the trend of alopecia is moving towards younger age. Compared with the previous generation, the current average age of alopecia is 20 years earlier. The post-90s also replaced the post-80s and became the “main force” of alopecia.
Programmers are also hard hit by alopecia and are often used to make fun of it.
Many popular but metaphysical “folk remedies”: ginger, beer, shampoo, hair comb and black sesame also afflict the hair volume and nerves of alopecia sufferers.
At the beginning of the 20th century, people discovered the main cause of hair loss: testosterone, the male hormone, which is transformed into “DHT-dihydrotestosterone”, which stimulates the growth of hair follicles, causing hair follicle necrosis and hair loss.
Increased DHT concentration will affect the differentiation of some hair follicles and inhibit hair growth.
However, the treatment of alopecia has developed very slowly. In the nearly one century of exploration, there are few effective treatment methods. Currently, the methods used include drug therapy and hair transplantation.
Recognized drugs include minoxidil (daub) and finasteride (oral and prescription). But they are not only expensive, but also have great disadvantages. Minoxidil causes dependency, while nonandronate brings strong side effects.
Therefore, many people take hair transplant as the last straw in their hearts.
The problem of hair transplant is really bald.
The concept of hair transplant technology was put forward by Norman Orentreich in 1959. Its key principle is still in use today.
The principle diagram of hair transplant requires the diagnosis of a professional doctor.
Hair transplant is to transplant the “tough” hair at the back of the head to a place where hair is scarce through hair follicle transportation.
However, hair transplant is an extremely troublesome work, which has the problems of relying on doctor’s experience, consuming time and labor, low success rate of hair transplant, etc.
For ordinary patients with high hairline, 1800-2500 follicular units need to be transplanted, which is a big challenge for doctors, scalp and wallet.
In addition, the market in the hair transplant industry is mixed with good and evil people, and some appalling chaos is often generated due to the high interest chain.
In a report some time ago, some media conducted a bottom-up study on the hair transplant speed-up class, revealing the inside story that makes one’s spine cool.
In their unannounced visit, a well-known hair transplant training site actually completed the qualification certification of the trainees in only two or three days. But the entire training operation standard, the process setting all exists in name only.
The two-hour training course on hair transplant for patients was behind closed doors.
There are not a few such black-hearted hair transplant workshops. In addition to the deep water in the hair transplant market, it also reflects the shortage of hair transplant professionals.
However, with the emergence of robot hair transplanters and artificial hair follicle cultivation techniques, this situation has also brought about a new turn of events.
Hair transplant robot on duty, one-stop anti-take-off
U.S. robot company Restoration Robotics, combining robots and artificial intelligence, has created a set of hair restoration technologies and introduced the hair transplant robot Artas.
It combines robotics and computer vision to extract and plant follicular units.
With the help of a robot, only one professional is needed to complete an operation that originally required 10 people.
During hair transplantation, the robot first carries out 3D modeling through digital imaging, and then determines information such as coordinates of hair follicle transplantation. Subsequently, hair follicles are automatically extracted, and intelligent and uniform drilling is carried out on the planting part; Finally, the hair follicles are implanted by robots or doctors.
Compared with artificial hair transplantation, this robot has great advantages.
Firstly, the parameters are set according to the individual situation of the patient, which can simulate the hair transplant effect and help to design a comprehensive operation scheme.
Combined with artificial intelligence, machine hair transplant can be more accurate and efficient.
Secondly, using image recognition and intelligent algorithm, we can more accurately grasp the information of perforation, position angle, direction, density, distribution and other information during the operation, and the success rate of hair follicle extraction has also increased from 50% to 90% manually.
Finally, the intervention of robots can reduce the dependence on doctors, shorten the operation time and reduce the uncertainty in the operation.
However, unfortunately, perhaps robot technology has not been popularized in the industry, and the price of this Artas is high, which exceeds the ordinary hair transplant cost on the market.
However, the combination of intelligent algorithms and robots is bound to be a trend of hair transplantation in the future.
Changes brought by 3D Printing: How Bold Are People and How Productive Are Hair Follicles
What needs to be solved in hair transplantation is the origin of hair follicles. No matter artificial or machine hair transplantation, using or using one’s own hair follicle is actually “digging the east wall to fill the west wall.” For patients who have no hair follicles available, there is nothing they can do.
The artificial cultivation of hair follicles can ignore these restrictions, help more people and bring revolution to the hair transplant industry.
With this in mind, the research team of Columbia University in the United States has carried out corresponding research, and they have recently made a new breakthrough.
The research results are published in Nature magazine and the address of the paper is www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07579-y
In this study, researchers used 3D printing technology to construct a hair growth environment similar to human skin, obtained artificially cultured hair follicles, and successfully produced hair.
In order to cultivate hair follicles in the experiment, many people have tried the research. However, the plane culture conditions and liquid drop culture conditions used in the past have little effect.
The key to this success lies in the use of finer 3D printing to carefully restore the growth microenvironment of hair follicles.
Using 3D printing mold, hair follicle culture was carried out with culture solution.
In their laboratory, dermal papilla cells of hair follicles were seeded into micropores, covered with keratinocytes, and cultured with a special growth factor mixture.
After three weeks, healthy hair follicles grew and hair was produced.
After skin transplantation in mice, artificial hair follicles grew hair.
Project researcher Professor Christiano said, “Essentially, we have created a hair factory. 」
In addition to helping hair follicle growth, the 3D mold method has another great advantage in that the density or pattern of hair growth can be designed according to the needs of different hair transplanters to meet the needs of various hair transplants.
Of course, before this technology is actually used for hair transplantation, some optimization treatment is needed.
Future: Can Science and Technology Solve the Eternal Problem of Hair Loss
I wonder if Darwin, who suffers from the same alopecia, will study the relationship between alopecia and human evolution.
The emergence of artificial intelligence, robotics or artificial hair follicles has brought new breakthroughs in hair transplant methods and is also the most likely way to bring about fundamental changes.
However, these novel technologies still have a long way to go in terms of popularization and applicability. I also look forward to the day when technology can defeat alopecia.
Now, in order to solve the problem of baldness, in addition to staying away from unreliable hair growth methods, the key is to recuperate your body, build a healthy lifestyle and reduce the burden on your hair.
If this does not stop the powerful genes of alopecia, then we can only expect more powerful technologies to emerge. I hope those researchers who are on the frontline will not lose their hair because of the development of technology.
Teacher Qiyu: I have become bald and stronger.