Jul 10, 2023

AI robots can now do manicures and other beauty treatments

Harsa Maduranga/iStock

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A report by CBS News published on Tuesday highlighted how the global market for artificial intelligence (AI) in beauty and cosmetics is currently a multi-billion-dollar business that sees machines undertake tasks once reserved only for humans.

The article outlined several AI firms that have entered the industry and shared their point of view on its progress.

Co-founder and CEO of a San francisco-based startup called Clockwork Renuka Apte said that the idea to use robots for cosmetic procedures came about because of her own frustration with salon appointments.

"So we really want this to be like grabbing a cup of coffee, right? And that could be anywhere from, like, apartment complexes, to corporate offices, retail stores," Apte said.

Meanwhile, Nimble Beauty, which sells home devices that produce a four-coat manicure in about an hour, has witnessed an impressive interest from clients, selling over 5,000 units on Kickstarter.

Nimble Beauty's CEO Omri Moran said AI is key to the robots functioning efficiently, allowing them to recognize and perform the essential steps of a manicure.

"It would be able to identify the specific nails that it has saved in the system versus understanding what a nail is and then figuring out, 'Oh, I'm seeing a nail. This is the shape of this nail. This is the cuticle. That is where the A.I. comes into play,'" she said.

Meanwhile, LUUM provides robotic arms that tackle the tricky task of performing eyelash extensions, a precise ordeal that is very sensitive since it happens so close to the eye.

Nate Harding, LUUM's co-founder told CBS News that their robots “augment human capabilities rather than replace them.” This statement gives rise to the concern: will robots soon replace humans in the cosmetics industry?

Apte claims they will not.

"I don't think we're gonna put nail salon techs out of work. And the reason is that this isn't — that's like saying, like a vending machine would put a chef out of work, right? It's like saying that. What we're going for is express services, get in, get out, you know," she said.

"It's nowhere close to that full, elaborate experience that a nail tech is gonna be able to offer. There's just a whole gamut of things that humans can do, and this is not that."

This comes as a relief to the many employed in the industry who rely on it as a source of income.