The Future is Here (maybe): The Laser Razor

Morgan Gustavsson and Paul Binun came together and had a great idea.  It was so great that this past September, they patented it and then created a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $160,000 to perfect their concept and produce it.  There are seven days left to go, and they have raised (as of this writing) over $3.9 Million.  That’s like 2500% of what they wanted.  So what is this?  Well, you have already clicked on the title of this blog entry, so you probably know.  They managed to re-create what Superman has been doing for years:

Skarp prototypes (Kickstarter photo)

And, even more outstanding, is that they plan on marketing this genius device at a price point of somewhere between $200 and $300.  If you shave every day (and I don’t because it destroys my face if I shave any less than every three days) you probably spend $50-$100 on razor blade refills every year, so that price point isn’t all that bad, if it’s quality made and lasts awhile.

Apparently, these geniuses found a certain wavelength of laser light that will burn something called a “chromophore.”  From their Kickstarter page:

How it works


Wavelengths of light had already been discovered that could cut through dark hair, but finding a way to cut light hair was proving incredibly difficult.

After years of research & development, they discovered a chromophore in the hair that would be cut when hit with a particular light wavelength.

Chromophores are particles that absorb certain wavelengths (colors) of light.

This chromophore they identified is shared by every human, regardless of age, gender or race.

Animation from the SKARP Kickstarter page

As you can see, the laser is fed through an optical fiber that emits the wavelength as it touches the hair.  And the wavelength is supposed to be safe for skin (although I predict the government might step in and try to demand tests or something).  And it’s supposedly under the laser safety limits.  And it still manages to cut hair.  Because of the chromophore.  I didn’t even know what one of those is.  So I checked Wikipedia.  This is what they say it is:

A chromophore is the part of a molecule responsible for its color. The color arises when a molecule absorbs certain wavelengths of visible light and transmits or reflects others. The chromophore is a region in the molecule where the energy difference between two different molecular orbitals falls within the range of the visible spectrum. Visible light that hits the chromophore can thus be absorbed by exciting an electron from its ground state into an excited state.

Now, there are a lot of people out there that are saying that this has to be a hoax.  And it might be.  This might be something that two people decided to bilk the public for and make a couple hundred thousand dollars, and it just went crazy.  Am I a believer?  Not yet.  But I want to believe.  I so want to believe because this is so cool.  I actually wish I found this early, because I would have been willing to risk $160 to be one of the first owners of this.  If it ever makes it to market, I’ll definitely buy one.

And it just might make it to market.  There are two things that lend credence to this whole idea:

  1. It’s patented (US Patent number 20150223889 A1)  (I wonder if the major shaving companies have tried to buy it out?)
  2. They have an actual university professor on their team (Professor Christopher Zachary, University of California-Irvine, professor of skin disorders).  He probably knows something about hair and chromophores too.

Now…  let’s expand on the possibilities of this.  Laser pointers are everywhere, and it’s relatively easy to purchase higher powered lasers that we probably aren’t supposed to have.  It’s easy and fun to do things like pop balloons; etch and cut glass, metal, and wood; 3D print with light-sensitive resins; and try to take down commercial aircraft (OK, that’s not fun for those in the aircraft).

And now we know the wavelength of light that will cut a chromophore!


All we need to do is make a laser pointer that emits this wavelength pretty brightly, and we can cut peoples chromophores from a good distance away.

Imagine going to a football game and having an annoying fan from the other team sitting in front of you.  Now you can etch your team’s logo into the back of his head — and he won’t feel a thing!

Discover an annoying nose hair (on yourself or others) while making a presentation at work?  Simply aim your pointer and zap away.

How about a rousing game of “cut the ponytail off of the dirty hippy?”

Buy one of these laser hair grower comb things and swap out the laser diode.  Give it to your mother-in-law for Christmas.  Be divorced by Memorial Day.

This could be a game changer!


Published from the Inland Empire in California.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *