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Robots: The New Cure for Baldness

timothy posted about 11 years ago | from the i'm-not-just-a-member-i'm-6555xyz dept.

Biotech 38

juice writes "The NYTimes has a story on robots that will one day conduct hair-replacement surgery. Currently, it's a grueling, repetitive, 8 hours process. Perfect for a mindless drone."

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38 comments

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Great news for Apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6969713)

More ego boost for Steve Jobs, he needed it lately.

I guess that robots will have all the jobs (4, Funny)

m_chan (95943) | about 11 years ago | (#6969786)

"Currently, it's a grueling, repetitive, 8 hours process. Perfect for a mindless drone"
That describes just about every job I have ever worked.

Re:I guess that robots will have all the jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6971095)

Mindless drone describes just about every one of your co-workers.

All they want are pretty little homes.

First Bender (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6969795)

First Bender reference, get it while it's hot!

Re:First Bender (1)

higuy48 (568572) | about 11 years ago | (#6969844)

Forget the hair! Let's CLAMP his head! ...:twitch: ffhdkfjsl; CLAMPS!

kill all humans. (1)

minusthink (218231) | about 11 years ago | (#6969910)

forget the hair replacing robots. I'm waiting for the human destroying robots.

TROLL EXTERMINATION ORDER #BF34d.c5Fsd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6972977)

By order of the Slashdot Troll Review Board, a death warrant has been issued, to be executed within the next 72 hours. Thank you for your cooperation.

Re:kill all humans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6976223)

Well, cryogenics is available now -- just freeze yourself until y3k!

Re:kill all humans. (1)

rsax (603351) | about 11 years ago | (#6986993)

forget the hair replacing robots. I'm waiting for the human destroying robots.

Look no further. [whitehouse.gov] This one's speech programming is a little off though or maybe it's just due to faulty parts.

Google link... (1)

stienman (51024) | about 11 years ago | (#6969933)

Google news link [google.com]

-Adam

Re:Google link... (1)

Mrs. Neutron (704734) | about 11 years ago | (#6980794)

Thanks. the story link won't work if you don't pay for the thing.

That's one place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6970043)

where I would not want to hear the phrase "open sores".

Making my own... (2, Funny)

psyconaut (228947) | about 11 years ago | (#6970182)

...out of Lego as I type this! ;-)

-psy

i dunno (2, Insightful)

danratherfan (624592) | about 11 years ago | (#6970311)

by the time such a robot can be developed will people still need to have their heads butchered to cure baldness? I wouldn't invest stock in them just yet.

Perfect.... (1)

soupart (691584) | about 11 years ago | (#6970404)

that's exactly what mankind needs. A perfect head of hair. What defines a person's intelect more than the a good rug on their cranium?

It's funny. At least chuckle.

Re:Perfect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6972696)

What defines a person's intelect more than the a good rug on their cranium?

The ability to spell.

Re:Perfect.... (2, Funny)

hplasm (576983) | about 11 years ago | (#6973470)

Breast size?

Re:Perfect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6980879)

ooh. dangerous ground my son. Just wait til you start to lose it... then we'll see who's first in the queue for replacement therapy :)

bigger questions... (1)

feidaykin (158035) | about 11 years ago | (#6971541)

Perhaps there is some evolutionary reason for hair loss... I mean, isn't hair kind of a "vestigial organ" from when humans were furry? Perhaps now that humans wear clothes, hats, and etcetera, even the remaining hair is becoming useless, outside of vanity purposes.

There's also another possibility. In nature, creatures tend to send "signals" that they've reached a certain stage of development. This is probably why humans develop pubic hair; it's the body's way of saying that it is physically ready to produce offspring.

Perhaps the process of balding is a signal of some stage of development, too. It could mean "I'm older and wizened" or "I am a little past my prime" (sorry bald guys, I'm just guessing!). I know some people start going bald in their 20s... so perhaps it isn't a totally evolutionary response... but anyway, it is food for thought... What do the rest of you think?

Re:bigger questions... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 11 years ago | (#6972216)

I'm not sure. But, I recall the purpose of hair is to act as an insulator trapping heat. Because of the increase in blood flow to the brain, the body needs to keep it warm (and the rest of the body) in cold climates.

Re:bigger questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6980901)

so that's why my hair is falling out. Damn Global Warming. quick, get your politicos back to Kyoto. I mean, now things are getting serious!!!

Re:bigger questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6975995)

What do you mean, 'were' furry?. Have you looked at Robin Williams recently?

Re:bigger questions... (2, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | about 11 years ago | (#6979030)

Speaking broadly, things that happen past the age of reproduction don't affect evolution or natural selection much, as the owner of the genes has either bred or not by then.

Some exceptions exist for organisms which form societies, as ours do, but even then, those are the exceptions, not the rule. I think "hair loss" is perfectly adequately explained as a mutation that got into the gene pool (and remember that humanity has gone through at least one very small bottleneck and possibly more then one; you can look that up elsewhere) and just happened to spread along with other genes. No "explanation" is really necessary, IMHO.

That's just my opinion... but when it comes to these sorts of issues, it's hard to get anything better then that ;-) One can hardly conduct "experiments" on this sort of thing.

Re:bigger questions... (1)

msheppard (150231) | about 11 years ago | (#6981430)

Isn't almost everything at this point a "vainity option" ? With today's Tom Sawyer, it's a freaking crime to DIE, so survival is pretty much taken care of.

Re:bigger questions... (2, Interesting)

YellowElectricRat (637662) | about 11 years ago | (#6981478)

Male pattern baldness is caused by certain men's hair follicles having a sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (which is converted from testosterone by agents known as 5-alpha-reductates). The most popular non-topical anti-baldness drug on the market today, Propecia (Finasteride) works by blocking the 5-alpha-reductates to stop the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. The funny thing is, Propecia is simply a smaller dose of drug used to treat swollen prostates - you can get the drug, Proscar (also Finasteride), for a quarter of the price, and it does the same job. The only difference is you have to cut the pills to get a smaller dose.

However, hair transplant surgery may be on its way out - apparently, about 6 years ago, researchers isolated the gene that caused the hair follicles to become sensitive to dihydrotestosterone. Currently, work is being done on developing a drug to block the operation of this gene, which, when it becomes active, starts the process of male pattern baldness. I'd wager that within 10-15 years you should be able to have a treatment in your teens to prevent you from going bald altogether, so if you're bald, at least your son won't have to be.

Disclaimer: all of the above is second hand from hearing my wife (who used to run a day procedure hospital specialising in hair transplants) explain the details of MPB to patients over the phone, so I may have some of the terms wrong...

Before we sign the form. (0)

annisette (682090) | about 11 years ago | (#6972108)

I think Issac Asimov wrote about this or was it mr. Bradbury...A robot surgon operating. the patient for some reason wakes up, freaks out, dies, the robot does'nt miss a beat and keep operating. They are now teaching proper doctor bed side manner, manners with the patient. Lets not skip the human touch folks........Doom, Doom, Doom, Sish, Boom, Bah....

Dymoxinyl (1)

OzBeserk (654927) | about 11 years ago | (#6972830)

We do have a product in your price range..... but any hair growth will be purely coincidental.

Original . . . (1)

Dausha (546002) | about 11 years ago | (#6973118)

I always wished that they would research one of the original ways to cure balding. Dying in your teens. More dead teens have full heads of hair than geriatric men.

Lucky (1)

turgid (580780) | about 11 years ago | (#6973191)

Some people are so damned lucky they only have alopaecia to worry about. Millions die, live in agony, go blind etc. for want of essential surgery, and yet all we can think of is pandering to our own vanity. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Re:Lucky (1)

Psion (2244) | about 11 years ago | (#6974676)

You'd have a point if people only worried about trivial things like hair loss. But they don't. They also worry about heart disease, the education of our children, the environment, the starving, the poor, the homeless, and all that other stuff you probably think is more important. That's the great thing about diversity: everyone does their own thing, and eventually everything gets some measure of attention. Including those things you think are important, but I don't.

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6976068)

They can get the robot to work on repairing something non-critical like baldness for the vain and rich (I am not excluding myself from this category, sadly :-); and use the money and field research to prototype one of those robots that repaired Rico's leg in 'Starship Troopers'.

Hey, they gotta get funding from *somewhere* now that the cold war's over !

Re:Lucky (1)

Mrs. Neutron (704734) | about 11 years ago | (#6980833)

I see your point.

However, I would like to point out that you have it pretty darn good to, since you apparently not only can afford a computer and an internet connection, but you have the time (like me) to spend patrolling Slashdot.

Re:Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6984520)

Har har har. Typical American. Talking about how, we've got it so good and you just don't know how good you've got it. You don't know how hard they have it over there.
Over there. Over there. Send the word. Send the word over there.
Well sister, check it out. American's living standards aren't that hot. I know because I'm am American and like several of my friends, I left as soon as I could. Americans live like shit and think they've got it so damn good. Eating too much lousy food and walking around on a filthy wall to wall carpet of a cheap stick house is not, in fact, a hight standard of living. A bunch of boot lickers working overtime to buy gas for the car and gabbing about how thankful they ought to be that it's not like OVER THERE.
You have no idea. People in other countries don't even need surgery half the time because they don't have all these diseases of over consumption. Turn off the charity channel. Those damn things are run by street hustlers you wouldn't give a dime to in front of 7-11. They're the same bastards. I know you're so insulated you want to hold onto your imagined self rigteous superior trip, but everything I say is true and I go to both sides all the time. In and out of the States has advantages and disadvantages, but it's always the Americans who refuse to see that they have their own disadvantages while chanting about the horrors happening OVER THERE.
It sounds so harsh, but I love Americans. All my family are Americans and they all have this same sentiment of --well thank God I'm not OVER THERE. Convincing them that they've got it backwards is next to impossible but it's true. Pride is the biggest obstacle to making Americans understand that they don't have it that good. And it's such an obstacle, that I assume it's impossible to really reach them. It's like someone who's got a weight problem and keeps pretending it's all muscle. It's such a tender topic, you just can't even breach it with them.
But it's true. You're on a fricking consumption treamill talking about how bad it is OVER THERE. Well, keep running honey. I'm sure you're right.

I don't understand (2, Funny)

pmz (462998) | about 11 years ago | (#6975474)


It's interesting how far people will go for very very superficial things like their hair. Just one more indication that we are more ape than most of us are willing to admit.

By the way what's the difference between a monkey with a swollen ass and a woman with swollen tits? What the difference between a grunting bullfrog and a person with a loud car stereo? Hint: there is none (other than certain aspects of appearance, of course).

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6978677)


It's interesting how far people will go for very very superficial things like their hair. Just one more indication that we are more ape than most of us are willing to admit.

By the way what's the difference between a monkey with a swollen ass and a woman with swollen tits? What the difference between a grunting bullfrog and a person with a loud car stereo? Hint: there is none (other than certain aspects of appearance, of course).


I'm guessing that you either:

a) Are a hairy bastard
or
b) Are so ugly that it doesn't make a difference one way or another if you have hair on your head: No one will be able to look at you in any case.

Toodles.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | about 11 years ago | (#6980044)

By the way what's the difference between a monkey with a swollen ass and a woman with swollen tits?

If you haven't figured this one out yet, please, think of the children, and shoot yourself. The last thing we need is teenage boys getting hard-ons looking at monkeys, there's enough sick shit on the internet aleady.
On a more serious side, this type of thing really shouldn't be too suprising. Most advances we humans have made can be linked back to procreation, and the continuance of the species in some way. And usually the closer people are to us, the more importance we place upon them. Basically, the people with the money to fund this sort of research aren't going to be too interested in robots that help feed/heal someone they have never met/heard of. But if there is a robot that will increse their chance at procreating, or at least having sex, they'll pony up the money. Now eventually someone with a bit of an alturistic streak will find a way to spin-off this technology into something more helpful to humans as a whole, but it all starts with the guy with money who wants to get laid.


Re:I don't understand (1)

SpaceJunkie (579366) | about 11 years ago | (#7019767)

I suppose it makes sense. Although I have a wife(so the whole getting laid thing is well sorted), I would like to make money - so I can stake a bigger teratorial claim I expect - or is that just so I can buy more geek things..
I always wanted a big black room, with a black leather chair, TV wall, multi-keyboard console, and a white fluffy cat.
No seriously- I build robots for learning - just for the pure tech factor of it. I have plans to build robots that will save money/lives etc - like my track bot designs, but at the end of the day - I just want to see how much cool stuff I can build.(Maybe that is a whole better-than-the-jones's thing).

Harley riders (1)

bandy (99800) | about 11 years ago | (#6981563)

What's the difference between kids having a farting contest and Harley riders trying to blow out everyone's eardrums?
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