The image: The FDA has approved a device called the Artas System (see image below), which removes small pieces of skin from hairy parts of a balding man's head, so they can be implanted in areas that need follicular assistance. As Tim Hornyak at CNET describes it, "the patient sits in the Artas chair, and his hair is cut to about 1 millimeter. A camera-equipped robotic arm under the control of a doctor then initiates 'small dermal punches' while harvesting individual follicles." They are later manually transplanted, develop their own blood supply, and eventually grow their own hair. Artas's function is one step in a process known as Follicular Unit Extraction, which avoids the sutures and bandages common to some hair-transplant procedures, like "strip harvesting." As of now, the machine can only be used on patients with straight, brown or black hair — blonds and redheads need not apply.
The reaction: There's "something about knowing that a robot arm will harvest your hair using 'small dermal punches' that's a little bit unsettling," says Graeme McMillan at TIME. "But to have a full head of hair for the first time in over a decade? I have to admit, I'd probably be okay with that." Blond people are lucky in that they "still have a convenient excuse to not pay Artas a visit," says Patrick Morgan at Discover Magazine. That is, "in addition to the whole 'I'm not going near a flesh-harvesting robot' thing." See the Artas machine below:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week