L’Oréal has launched a motorized handheld device that allows people with limited hand and arm mobility to regularly apply makeup.
The slim new product uses motion sensors and magnetic attachments that allow makeup to be applied in 360-degree turns and 180-degree twists, according to the company.
The move is part of the cosmetics industry’s effort to develop products for people with disabilities – an often untapped market believed to be worth $1.2 trillion (£990 billion). Until now, these efforts have largely focused on creating ergonomic products such as make-up brushes and easy-to-open moisturizers that can be bent and gripped more easily.
L’Oréal says its new Hapta device targets 50 million people worldwide with limited fine motor skills, including those with cerebral palsy or stroke.
The product, which was unveiled at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, will be trialled with L’Oréal Lancôme’s lipstick applicator later this year.
In developing Hapta, L’Oréal enlisted a helping hand from Verily, Google’s life sciences sister company. Verily has created all sorts of futuristic technology, including smart shoes that detect falls and contact lenses that check blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
When it comes to L’Oréal’s makeup applicator, the product uses Verily technology, which was originally designed to stabilize and straighten kitchen utensils for people with disabilities. Google first introduced a smart spoon with these features in 2014. The so-called Liftware spoon relied on hundreds of algorithms to detect how a hand was shaking and make adjustments to stay balanced.
A consumer product called the Liftware series, later released in 2016. It currently includes an assistive device for people with hand tremor or limited hand and arm mobility. The devices cost $195 each, and additional fork and spoon attachments are sold separately for $20.
L’Oréal and Verily began collaborating on skincare and digital dermatology tools in January.
“Beauty technology [is] Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme’s global brand head, revolutionizes the way we develop beauty products and services and enables greater personalization. “With Hapta, we go one step further by making beauty more accessible, because everyone should have equal access to it.”
Also at CES, the cosmetics company announced its Brow Magic applicator, which offers personalized brow looks based on facial scans from an accompanying app.
The product has 2,400 small nozzles and a print resolution of up to 1,200 drops per inch. L’Oréal says it can create a precise eyebrow shape in seconds and can be removed using a standard makeup remover. Brow Magic looks at the user’s face shape and thickness to make recommendations for microblading, micro-shading or filling effects. The product is scheduled to arrive this year.