Lighted Hair Roller
This project originated in the formula labs at Estee Lauder. A formula was devised that, when exposed to certain light wavelengths, would render hair malleable. The hair could be set, the light removed, and whatever shape it was in—straight or curly—would be held. It was a modern version of the chemical permanent, only more flexible and less damaging. The
patent publication describes the invention in detail.
The lab had been working on formula development with their own device prototypes before approaching our group. Their original platform was essentially a brush with LEDs as tines. Given that the formula needed at least 15 minutes of exposure to become effective, this setup was problematic for any end user; it would take over a hour of painstakingly and slowly moving the brush to fully expose an average head of hair. Our solution was to incorporate the light array into a roller form. It solved having to hold and manipulate a device, multiple rollers could be applied, covering the entire head of hair, and it fit in with existing haircare tools and paradigms.
An exploded view of the basic roller concept shows principle elements. The cover serves both as a surface to reflect light around the rolled area as a switch for the LEDs array. The lights will only turn on if the cover is engaged, a safety feature if dangerous UV wavelengths are used. A controlling circuit can be added to create patterns or variations in light output.
Early development projections showed that this system would be too costly for a consumer product, so salons, such as Bumble & Bumble and Aveda, were considered as the primary consumer. They would cover the system cost by selling it repeatedly as a service.