- Cosmetics giant L’Oreal has unveiled a handheld, computerized lipstick applicator.
- This device is designed to assist people with limited range of motion in their hands and arms.
- A L’Oreal executive told an insider that the company is planning other comprehensive products within the next year.
Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to find many makeup products designed for people of color. There were a few options, but most of the shades, tools, and brands were for Caucasians.
Many people with disabilities today may face similar feelings of alienation when browsing cosmetic counters. Few, if any, products are designed for people with limited fine motor skills.
L’Oréal’s team of engineers, researchers and beauty experts are working to change this.
At the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, L’Oréal unveiled a handheld, computerized makeup applicator called the Hapta. Designed for people with limited range of motion in their hands and arms.
Hapta subscribes to the term haptics, a type of vibration motor technology used in many smartphones and adaptive devices for the disabled. The product will be available in U.S. stores later this year and worldwide for between $149 and $199 next year.
Guive Balooch, global chief of L’Oréal’s technology incubator (the division that developed Hapta), said the move to create more advanced products for people with beauty disorders has been long overdue. rice field.
Now, says Baluch, the world of makeup is approaching a revolution in technology that can help many people with disabilities.
“For the last three to five years, we’ve been good at downsizing big machines,” says Balooch. “Hapta is essentially his miniature robotic arm that requires a lot of machine learning and complex algorithms. Combine that with our sense of purpose to drive inclusion. I truly believe that it is the result of the fusion of two powers.”
Enabling millions of people to wear makeup
There are makeup applicators for the disabled. There are blush brushes designed to be easy to grip, and mascara with large handles that are easy to grip with your fingers. However, most of these products were developed by start-ups and small businesses rather than big cosmetics companies. L’Oreal says there are no high-tech options like Hapta on the market.
Feedback from haptic testers from people affected by cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke has been positive, Baluch said.
“They told us they didn’t feel like they could be part of this industry,” he said. They wanted to do their own makeup, and they now feel they can be a part of it.”
About 10 million Americans have essential tremor, a neurological movement disorder that often causes hand tremors. About 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, and about 764,000 Americans have at least one symptom of cerebral palsy. Both Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy can affect hand and arm mobility.
“People who couldn’t wear lipstick before can now do it,” Baluch said. “There’s confidence that comes from that. That’s the feedback from our users.”
L’Oréal began developing Hapta about a year ago. That is after Baloch met his CEO of Riftware, Anupam his Pathak. Liftwear is a startup that created high-tech tableware for people with tremors and limited range of motion in their hands and arms. Pathak and Balooch started talking about Liftware users asking if they could create a tool for makeup.
“This is co-signed with people with cerebral palsy, people with Parkinson’s disease, and experts in the field,” Bharuch said. It’s not just about what these people deserve, it’s about our purpose.”
For several years, L’Oréal engineers have worked to make the company’s packaging easier to open for people with disabilities, Balooch said. L’Oréal is also expanding the use of her QR codes on products to help people with limited vision learn more about items.
Hapta is set to be compatible only with Lancôme lipsticks for now, but L’Oreal plans to create fittings to adapt the device to other lipsticks.
“The reality is that people with motor skills or hand movement disorders need to be able to perform everyday tasks,” Baluch said. “The time has come for this kind of technology.”