“I need a haircut, but this shelter in place is killing me!” This is an all too familiar thought probably crossing the minds of people across the country right now. Well, probably not a haircut specifically, but I’m sure with how things are going now, we can all agree how much we took basic cosmetology services for granted before COVID-19. I know I’ve been feeling this way; especially when we have clients to virtually meet with. So, naturally as a designer, I started to think, what if there was a way we can support small businesses during unprecedented times? Specifically, those that cater to customer service and cosmetology needs? Small businesses need our support now more than ever, so what if there was a way “non-essential” businesses had ways of continuing to work remotely?
Taking inspiration from Samsung’s BotChef showcased at CES 2020, our concept features a service station catering to remote cosmetology! The idea is to use the power of Virtual Reality and Robotics to help small business owners stay in touch with clients and provide services remotely. While these conditions might not seem “ideal” compared to physically going in for an appointment, we expect COVID-19 to shift our daily lives even when this is over.
Imagine this: the client signs in through a facial scan system outside the service station. Once settled in, their barber would virtually log in via a tablet or app, throw their VR glasses on, and act as though they were actually cutting hair. Once completed, the client would pay via the facial scan to sign out. Our trusty robot assistant would then disinfect the service station area to prep for the next client and barber to sign in.
Of course, this would require extensive engineering: for more complex cuts, would the robot arms have the ability to move / adjust the barber chair? For fades, would the robot be able to control hand positioning or the amount of pressure they are putting when dealing with lines? Maybe the barber’s tools can be digitally scanned for accuracy purposes? Can the robot perform hair coloring? For now, this is just an idea, but an interesting one to play around with. Sometimes, there is uncertainty with VR–if you’ve played any game on PSVR, most know this to be true in terms of perfecting aim. Feel free to comment below with your ideas / add more to ours!
Create Your Future
The best way to predict the future is to create it.Abraham Lincoln
As designers, our minds are constantly running, thinking of ways we can innovate, and most importantly, help those in need. Considering the circumstances now, it is allowing us to really think outside the box about how we can best offer our services to fellow small businesses. Design is more than just researching and understanding current trends. It is about forward-thinking, and keeping innovation in mind. Ultimately, design thinking gives us the opportunity to problem solve for real people. With advancements in technology, businesses will have no choice but to adjust to those advancements. We figured we’d start now.