back to article Find shaving a chore? Why not BLAST your BEARD off with a RAYGUN

Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser. Californian startup Skarp is the brainchild of follicle boffin Morgan Gustavsson, who has worked on medical devices for hair removal. Skarp Technologies says its razor is powered by a small laser, which cuts through hair for a shave which is closer than using a …

  1. phil dude
    Coat

    interesting...

    In theory, it could cut patterns in your beard....

    That was my first thought - dot matrix beards.

    P.

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: interesting...

      Not with what they have currently. In the video (update #5) it cuts along the entire edge of the "fiber", but very badly and requires multiple passes to knock out a single hair.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: interesting...

        They could make a version with a much narrower "cutting" edge rather than try to look like a conventional disposable razor.

    2. g e

      Re: interesting...

      If it gets too 'interesting' Gillette will buy it and bury it.

      (Though I spose this guy does at least have a history of invention so he may keep the Co private and out of their grubby hands with luck)

  2. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Joke

    Do not look into razor with remaining eye.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What ever happened to the ceramic razor blade ?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Companies making money of blades

      All razor companies are making money of blade consumables in a HP/Lexmark Inkjet style.

      As a result there is absolutely no interest in making a blade last longer. In fact the average "lifetime" of a blade has been slowly creeping downwards instead.

      So your ceramic suggestion is an anathema.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Companies making money of blades

        There's a reason the cheap durable with expensive consumables is called the "Gillette Model" or "razor and blades business model".

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Companies making money of blades

          So to preserve the business model they will need to use DRM to prevent you re-filling with cheap off-brand photons.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Companies making money of blades

          I reckon that the reason that the bearded look (or at least stubble) is particularly common just now is only partly to do with fashion, and also has as much to do with a combination of inherent laziness, Movember ("Hey, that look suits me"), and, especially, "You're charging *how much* for a pack of refill razor blades now?!".

          It's less hassle and less expensive just to use a beard trimmer every few days, than feed Big Razor's greed (no, we do not need nor care about 5 blades, plffft...).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Companies making money of blades

        "As a result there is absolutely no interest in making a blade last longer."

        My facial hair has been commented on by barbers as being rather tough. A state-of-the-art wet razor blade gives one very clean shave. However the same blade will then give six months of adequate shaving.

        What is annoying is that they alter the blade fitting mechanism on a fairly regular benefit. One advantage of that is the remaindered stock of the obsolescent blades gets sold off at a good discount.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      @readinthereg

      " What ever happened to the ceramic razor blade ? "

      Ceramic knives aren't always all that sharp -- they cut food well due to the cleanness of the edge, not absolute sharpness. One of the reasons they're so handy, is that the lack of sharpness means you get the "ouch" reaction from you finger before you're deep enough to draw blood.

      Ceramic razors can be done, but it seems to be a pretty serious undertaking.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser.

    Men with beards do not shave... Guys with 5 o'clock shadow shave.

    I am proud of my old grey beard.

    and from the video "Safe for any part of the body??"

    1. Charlie_Manson

      Re: Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser.

      I would'nt use it for any 'manscaping' thats for sure....

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser.

      "Safe for any part of the body"
      I don't know about you, but my face is one of the more sensitive areas of me, with some of the thinnest skin (especially the neck/under the chin). If it's safe to use on a face, it should well be safe for legs, chest, or anywhere else.

      Having said that, I agree with the above; lasers (unless guided by a well-trained medical professional) have no business being anywhere near my nether bits.

    3. Little Mouse

      Re: Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser.

      "Safe for any part of the body.."

      If that's true then I really could have done with one of these a couple of months ago. Because - well - cough! - hmm - never mind.

      Let's just say that "downstairs" razor burn is no laughing matter. Well, I wasn't laughing anyway...

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser.

        Let's just say that "downstairs" razor burn is no laughing matter. Well, I wasn't laughing anyway...

        Hmmm, you've seen the reviews of Veet For Men, I take it?

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Veet-Men-Hair-Removal-Cream/product-reviews/B000KKNQBK

        Brings tears to your eyes...

  5. dogged

    50 shades

    I wonder how it'll cope with my grey?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: 50 shades

      Mine either. Seems like a bit of discrimination... Are they trying to tell us grey beards that even a shave won't make us more attractive?

      Pish pash, I shaved before my summer holiday and co-workers either didn't recognize me, or didn't notice the difference... go figure.

    2. Nameless Faceless Computer User

      Re: 50 shades

      Laser hair removal works by absorbing heat. Grey hair doesn't absorb as much heat as dark hair so it removes all the dark hair leaving the grey hair behind. (I'm dating an esthetician)

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        @Nameless Faceless Computer User

        " Laser hair removal works by absorbing heat. Grey hair doesn't absorb as much heat as dark hair so it removes all the dark hair leaving the grey hair behind. (I'm dating an esthetician) "

        That would be IPL. This is a new invention (from the guy who invented IPL, incidentally) and as stated in both the Kickstarter page and the article, he's found a single structure common to all human hair that reacts to a specific frequency of light. This means it gets the greys too.

        1. dogged

          Re: @Nameless Faceless Computer User

          > This means it gets the greys too.

          I guess we'll find out soon enough.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    Eh?

    There are no pictures of a working prototype

    Have you tried watching the video? There are certainly prototypes and certainly footage of the laser system doing its stuff to hairs. That's both the tech and design covered, what more do you want?

    Incidentally, the "cheap lasers are only the Blu-Ray ones" bit is highly amusing as, initially, BD players were bloody expensive due to the high cost of same. This actually goes a long way toward proving that the ones required by the razor will become cheap as chips overnight as soon as the device ships in quantity. Top tip: Don't buy one of the first, wait 'til they get down to 50 quid....

  7. Phil Dalbeck

    Reserving judgement

    While I love the idea, I've seen far simpler and technically progressed kickstarters fall flat.

    I'll wait until I see one actually working effectively on proper, wirewool-esque, senioer-developer levels of facial hare before I part with my cash.

    Also, if it DOES work it'll be in consumers hands damn quickly... in some cases before the kickstarter backers get theirs.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Reserving judgement

      senior-developer levels of facial hare

      Facial hare? The guy's name must be Warren.

      This really Bugs me.

      *ba-dum tssshhh*

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        @ David 132

        Bugs was a wabbit. You must be a wacist.

  8. 2Fat2Bald

    It'll be okay, until someone tries to make a cheap one for 30 quid. And skimps on everything, and it A) doesn't work B) burns people or C) both. Queue TV programmes breathlessly talking about these "deathtraps" and the razor industry attempting to get the whole thing outlawed after someone plugged their 30 quid knockoff into the wrong charger and it scotched their bathroom carpet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. John Tserkezis

      "scotched their bathroom carpet"

      Ouch. Just ouch.

    3. RoboticRabbit

      Either that or they shaved off their lower jaw.

    4. The Indomitable Gall

      That would be illegal under most patent regimes.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Meh

        That's if they patent it, or if whoever makes a cheap knockoff is based in part of the world that cares about such things. Given how many counterfeit goods already exist, I assume that we'll be able to buy cheap (and dangerous) laser shavers if this ever takes off.

        1. The Indomitable Gall

          " That's if they patent it, "

          A bunch of experienced professionals have spent years inventing a new revolutionary technology. There is no question of "if" (even before you see this stated on the Kickstarter page).

          " or if whoever makes a cheap knockoff is based in part of the world that cares about such things. Given how many counterfeit goods already exist, I assume that we'll be able to buy cheap (and dangerous) laser shavers if this ever takes off. "

          Even if the manufacturers don't care about patents, the importers have to. Any cheap knock-offs that are legal will be battery-guzzling high-powered lasers.

  9. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Smell?

    Burning hair smells appalling. Not the sort of thing you want after a night on the sauce.

    1. PleebSmash
      Alert

      Re: Smell?

      Does it produce a smell?

      No. Because we're not actually burning the hair, it doesn't produce a burnt hair smell.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Smell?

        No. Because we're not actually burning the hair, it doesn't produce a burnt hair smell.

        It's a laser. Burning is how lasers cut. Go watch a laser cutter on wood, metal, etc. There's smoke. I'm wondering about the burning hair smell also.

        1. PleebSmash

          Re: Smell?

          It's a laser. Burning is how lasers cut.

          FTA:

          After years of research and development, they discovered a chromophore in the hair which can be cut when hit with a particular light wavelength.

          Molecules can be cleaved when hit by right wavelength and amount of energy. That's not the same as burning, which would require more energy in this case of this "razor".

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: Smell?

            "Molecules can be cleaved when hit by right wavelength and amount of energy."

            They can also be cleaved by chemical means.

            So get back to me when there's a safe gel that can be rubbed on my face to remove unwanted hair, and doesn't feel like I've set my face on fire the way current products do.

  10. Tom 38 Silver badge

    So it lasts 50,000 hours before I need to replace the unit? Lets be generous, and say a wet shave takes me 5 minutes, and that this method doesn't take longer than a wet shave (otherwise, what's the bloody point?), that gives me a lifetime for this laser-razor of 600,000 shaves, or one a day for the next 1,600 years.

    Not the best business model I've heard of.

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Oh but the next-generation razor will have 50% more powerful laser, you surely will upgrade for a modest amount of $200 .

      1. Darryl

        The Skarp 1s will be 3mm thinner and have bluetooth.

        1. eek the geek
          Joke

          And the Skarp 2 will have a fingerprint sensor to unlock it before you can shave!

    2. Steven Roper

      "Not the best business model I've heard of."

      Or the vendor will adopt the Microsoft/Adobe business model and charge you a monthly fee to continue using the razor. Failure to pay the monthly fee will result in intermittent operation of the laser, leading to patterns forming adverts being cut into your stubble as you shave.

      A sensor in the razor connected to the cloud will also detect what brands of soap, toothpaste and deodorant you use, as well as phoning home, tracking and profiling your shaving and morning ablution habits for the purpose of advertising to you the same soap, toothpaste and deodorant you already use.

    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      @Tom 38

      "Not the best business model I've heard of."

      Selling a product more convenient and longer lasting than existing ones actually sounds like a pretty good business model (assuming it actually works of course). Not everyone is desperate to gouge customers for every penny they have, some people are happy to make a reasonable amount of money by selling something people want. And of course, this would hardly be the fits product with a life expectancy longer than that of the average person. Things like furniture and houses can easily last decades or centuries, yet somehow there's always a market to sell new ones.

      1. Immenseness

        Re: @Tom 38

        They might be like LED lamps which are supposed to last the same sort of time.

        In lamps, they refer to the led, which may indeed last that long, but the cheap, deathtrap, underrated power supplies they throw in to drive the LED don't last that long. I bought 8 GU10 LED lamps and all bar one are dead after less than 12 months of normal use. Dreadful. They should have to state the lifetime of the whole thing, not just the longest lasting component.

        At least the razor is battery operated and low voltage, so as long as the rest of the electronic driver circuitry is rated at 50,000 hours too, they may have a chance for that claim.

  11. Your alien overlord - fear me

    How come all but one in the promo video are too scared to use the prototype on themselves?

    Way to inspire confidence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How come all but one in the promo video are too scared to use the prototype on themselves?

      Yes, the fact that the people in the video are *not* terribly clean shaven wasn't all that trust-inspiring :)

  12. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    "its razor is powered by a small laser"

    So it's not a razor, then. It's a shaver. A laser-powered shaver, but still a shaver. A razor is a piece of planar material that cuts through something.

    1. Jan 0

      The only thing planar about a traditional cut throat razor is the edge, the bulk is a bi-concave prism. Traditionally a razor is a very sharp, thin blade or, more recently, an assembly of blades, but just as a camera doesn't have to be a room, or use photosensitive film, I think we can say that this is a razor. For that matter, a shaver doesn't necessarily remove hairs. I doubt that any of my spokeshaves would be good for hair removal, no matter how keenly I honed them.

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    No No its already been done

    Is advertised on the telly a lot the nono or whatever.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: No No its already been done

      I think I've seen that.

  14. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    How often do you need to use it? If it's not a whole magnitude of less needed (ie, getting towards only needing it once a month) I'm not interested. I hate having the mess that is a beard, but I also hate the hassle of getting rid of it. Invent a once-a-month treatment and I'm signing up.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just men's beards

    "[...] doesn’t suffer from irritation, razor burn, cuts or ingrown hairs"

    There are two market segments where this will be particularly welcomed. Women's hair removal - and naturist "smoothies". Both groups depilate most of the visible hair on their bodies and have to take care to use exfoliating lotions to prevent ingrowing hairs. In both cases using a razor on som eparts of teh body is particularly tricky.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just men's beards

      Don't forget black men who have to deal with their extremely curly hair, especially in the face, which is why they're particularly vulnerable to razor bumps (a particularly nasty case of ingrown hair).

  16. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Names, etc.

    Morgan Gustavsson appears with his full name early on, then as "Founder Morgan", which apart from the dreadful Timese seems awfully familiar, then loses a terminal 'n' further down.

    I suppose that something like this would pay for itself pretty quickly, given the ridiculous price of razor cartridges; but so would electric razors, which have been around for a while.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Names, etc.

      I suggest 'Captain Morgan'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Names, etc.

      > given the ridiculous price of razor cartridges

      Lidl do 25 lubricated twin-blade cartridges and a handle for about 3 quid, and they are identical to the Gillette Contour Plus blades that sell for 10 times the price. There's no reason to pay any more than that.

      1. toughluck

        Re: Lidl cartridges

        Yeah, those 25 cartridges last about 12 shaves for me. I used a cartridge, then a second one on one occasion and then gave up on them. Left my face cut in places I have never cut myself before.

        The missus is using them now for shaving her legs, though, and she doesn't complain.

        I also tried the 3- or 4-blade job that Lidl sells, just slightly less dreadful, lasted about two shaves for me.

        I'm using the 5-blade Gillette cartridges these days, and they're somewhat adequate, but as the price creeps up, their quality goes ever down -- I used to use them for months on end, right now I can't get more than three weeks from one.

        The worst part is that, although I have very firm facial hair, I also have very sensitive skin, and if I shaved daily, I'd be glowing bright red all the time.

        I tried an electric shaver before and found it also irritates my skin and doesn't really get all hair off.

        I'm looking at this with great interest and I hope they bring it to market soon.

  17. Joe Shmoe

    If this is any good ...

    Watch Gillete buy them and shut them down before anything happens.

  18. edwardbr

    Interesting ad, all the men in the video hadn't shaved!

  19. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Imagine the Excitment

    ....among transgenders always searching for the 'perfect' shaving solution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Imagine the Excitment

      I think I'll stick to the "burn the fuckers out at the root so they don't grow back" laser method, despite that feeling like having angry wasps fired at your face.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Imagine the Excitment

        Wait until you need electrolysis. Then you progress from angry wasps being fired at your face to sadistic cold-blooded wasps pushing the sting in... slowly....

  20. arrbee

    Its a start...

    Now if they can just scale it up a bit we could finally get a laser hedge (*) trimmer !

    (*) no, thats not a euphemism - tchaah, people round here, I dunno

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Brilliant idea !

      To be followed by a laser axe, a laser chainsaw, and a laser sledgehammer.

      Why a sledgehammer ? Because we can.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant idea !

        I'm holding out for the ten foot laser pole:

        http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0001.html

        1. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant idea !

          Laser screwdriver?

  21. Speltier

    I'll Wait

    Till TheReg (all genders+dog) have tried full body applications of this device and pronounced it a success. Pictures or it didn't happen.

  22. Old Handle
    Megaphone

    I'm very suspicious of this. Some of the claims (battery life and the fact that it "doesn't burn hair") don't seem plausible.

  23. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's like a light sabre...

    ... for battling hipsters.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    also useful for grass trimming

    and no grass blade has been actually harmed during this presentation.

  25. LINCARD1000
    Mushroom

    Lasers? PFFFT!

    How terribly yesterday. I'm going full-fat nuclear. Kick-start my new Razonium(tm) plutonium powered razor! It'll nuke those hairs back into the stone age and give your skin a nice, healthy* glow. Forever**!

    The first 50 kick-starters who give me $50,000 each will automatically be eligible for the model that shoots frikkin' sharks from the handle!

    * For very small values of healthy

    ** Forever being whatever plutonium's half-life is

  26. Bucky 2

    Warning, Will Robinson!

    The speakers in the video are pretty poor examples of the results you would get with the shaver.

    Even the guy with the fauxhawk has a pretty serious 5:00 shadow, and he's the best-shaved of all of them.

  27. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Crabs....

    Aside from the destruction of their natural habitat, will it kill the buggers?

  28. Blade

    There's only two types

    There's only two types of people who don't grow beards:

    Boys & Women. Men grow beards.

    1. razorfishsl

      Re: There's only two types

      You obviously don't visit Asia much.....

    2. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

      Re: There's only two types

      There's only two types of men who grow beards. Filthy hipsters and those that can't be trusted with a blade.

  29. razorfishsl

    Ah So.... laser blade.....

    you buy we make soo cheaply.....

  30. Chairo
    Flame

    I hope it is less painful

    than the light based depilators, that are in the market now. My wife bought one and insisted I should also try it on my beard. Ouch, that hurt.

  31. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The question is...

    Should we expect to see some very well-shaved sharks?

  32. Astarte

    Sheep

    Sheep - will it work on sheep?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if you can do your biffins* with one of these?

    *for those not in the RN or with no knowledge of the Navy look it up!

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      you could, but it would become "taint"ed

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does the prototype look like a cheap disposable conventional wet razor? Surely a better model would be based on an electric razor with more internal room for battery and electronics. Or if it doesn't need that much space then built it into the top edge of a mobile phone.

  35. Goatpod
    Joke

    Can't wait for the 5 laser version with a vibrating handle for an even closer shave...

    1. Harmless

      pssh.... our NEW MODEL has SEVEN lasers, count 'em, SEVEN!!

      ....

      OK, our new razor has NINE lasers for an even more ridonculous shave!

      etc.

  36. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    No ... no ...

    A potentially lethal weapon (just a little tweak on the flux power coupling, leave it in the bathroom where Mr Bond is going to shave and ... ha ha ha ha!)

    What's the difference between this and the much advertised No!No! ... no, it's really a No!No! Joke? No! No!, apparently not!

    I believe the No!No! works on the basis of sluffing off the surface of your skin off with an infra-red burny-beamy-oven-thing (stop me if I get too technical). According to several very smooth skinned but apparently ex-hairy American lasses, who swear they looked like Sasquatch before using said product, it works on southern-drawling-bird-moustaches where lathering was previously required daily and lesser known northern-european-granny-beards too. The inference is that is also copes with extra luxuriant Austrian-armpit and the Greater-Italian-mossy-bramble-thicket neither of which need soaping up in any way.

    So is this razor an evolutionary laser light bulb or another reinvention of the trim-wheel?

  37. WillG

    smelling like burnt pubes

    Seems like a good idea, though would imagine the smell of burnt pubes wouldn't be too pleasing

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