With rapidly growing demands on health care systems, nurses typically spend 18 to 40 percent of their time performing direct patient care tasks, oftentimes for many patients and with little time to spare. Personal care robots that brush hair could provide substantial help and relief. 

This may seem like a truly radical form of “self-care,” but crafty robots for things like shaving, hair-washing, and makeup are not new. In 2011, the tech giant Panasonic developed a robot that could wash, massage, and even blow-dry hair, explicitly designed to help support “safe and comfortable living of the elderly and people with limited mobility, while reducing the burden of caregivers.” 

Hair-combing bots, however, proved to be less explored, leading scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Soft Math Lab at Harvard University to develop a robotic arm setup…

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