If Darth Vader shaved, he’d use this laser razor

The Skarp laser razor, fully funded on Kickstarter, could do away with disposable razors forever. It uses light to cut unwanted hair, eliminating blades.

Morgan Gustavsson had the idea for a laser razor back in 2001. The trick was finding a wavelength that applied to every hair type. He attacked the problem with the expertise he gained from thirty years of work with medical and cosmetic lasers.

After Paul Binun joined him in 2013, the pair found a particular chromophore that responded to a certain wavelength. This chromophore is a standard characteristic of all human hair — gender or race is not a factor.

Skarp laser razor

Yes, this will look awesome in your bathroom, but it’s not just a superficial upgrade from a good ol’ fashioned blade. A laser razor might actually be better for troubled skin. It burns the hairs it passes over, and doesn’t irritate the skin. The hairs are left with a rounded edge at skin level as opposed to the usual sharp pricklies left by a traditional razor. This means a smoother feel with less risk of ingrown hairs, which can be particularly troubling for those with curly hair.

Made of 6061 aluminum, both the black and silver prototypes shown have a classic look that makes a nice counterpoint to the future-is-now concept. The mean red line of the laser just screams “Dark Side.”  It doesn’t really have the thrill factor of a Sith; it’s considered a Class 1 medical device, which means it’s on a danger level with dental floss.

The device can be rinsed under water, though you don’t need water to use it. According to an update on their Kickstarter page September 23, the inventors are considering providing both AAA battery and a non-replaceable but rechargeable battery options to backers. Under normal use, the AAA should last about a month, according to the Skarp Technologies team.

The firm reached its $160,000 funding goal in two days, indicating a great deal of interest. Backers are asking a lot of questions, though, and rightly so. One backer brought up concerns about post-inflammation hyperpigmentation sometimes caused by laser hair removal, resulting in an explanation of how Skarp covers 1/100,000 the area while using a fraction of the intensity of the lasers currently used to burn away hair underneath the skin.

Skarp laser razor black white background

And there is a related patent on record. Skarp has promised to post a demo on their Kickstarter page, and we’re waiting to see how that turns out. The team explained it won’t be perfect; since they don’t currently have the tech to machine the fiber optics required for the laser to be perfectly straight down to the micron.

That’s why they’ve started the campaign, to fund the required mass machining. The Kickstarter campaign will end October 19. As of now the going charge to get a Skarp razor is $140.

The Dollar Shave Club guy is probably eating his heart out right now. He’d better get on board because if this Kickstarter delivers, Skarp could change the face of shaving. Get it?

Update 9/24/15: Edited to correct laser area measurements 

Update 10/13/15: Skarp’s Kickstarter campaign has been suspended. Unfortunately, the campaign failed to meet some aspects of Kickstarter’s requirements. For instance, they don’t have a fully working prototype, which Kickstarter requires. In short, a razor with a laser “blade” doesn’t actually exist, and that is a fundamental problem for the big KS, perhaps the most trusted crowd funding site.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.