Hair today, gone tomorrow: tracking hair loss and growth

Oct 31, 2008
Hair today, gone tomorrow: tracking hair loss and growth
The software developed at CSIRO is able to objectively and rapidly count the number, length, and visibility of hair on a patch of skin. It uses advanced image analysis to distinguish between genuine hair, and wrinkles, wounds, or moles. Image: CSIRO

(PhysOrg.com) -- CSIRO has developed maths-based imaging technology to measure hair on different parts of the human body.

CSIRO’s Biotech Imaging team, who specialise in developing software to analyse images automatically, worked with a UK personal care products company to find a way to objectively test how well their hair removal products work.

Hair counting is often done manually by human assessors.

“It’s a boring job and results are prone to errors and variations between different people,” Dr Pascal Valloton, Leader of Biotech Imaging at CSIRO said.

“Our software uses images captured by a small flatbed scanner pressed onto the skin. The software crunches the numbers to analyse the image of skin and hairs.

“Then, almost instantly, it reports information about the length and number of hairs in the picture.

“You can compare the results with earlier images to see if hair is growing quickly or slowly or has been properly removed by, say, a depilatory cream.”

“The software can even detect hairs that people find hard to see and it’s not confused by variations in background skin colour or texture,” Dr Vallotton said.In the language of image analysis, a hair is called a ‘linear feature’. There are many ways of detecting linear features but this software uses algorithms that exploit some special things about hairs, like their relative straightness.

“The software can even detect hairs that people find hard to see and it’s not confused by variations in background skin colour or texture,” Dr Vallotton said.

The linear feature algorithms the software uses are similar to those developed by the team for medical research to measure the branching structure of nerve cells and to find the boundaries of fat cells.

The hair counting methods, the hardware and the algorithms are described in the November issue of Skin Research and Technology journal

Provided by CSIRO

Explore further: Tecnalia designs an app to help elderly people get around on public transport

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

20 minutes ago

Verizon Wireless is launching a nationwide loyalty program this week for its 100-million-plus subscribers. There's a twist, though: To earn points for every dollar spent, subscribers must consent to have their movements tracked ...

Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar

26 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —Bioacoustic recorders could provide us with vital additional information to help us protect rare and endangered birds such as the European nightjar, new research has shown.

Essential oils may provide good source of food preservation

46 minutes ago

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), found that essential oils may be able to be used as food preservatives in packaging to help extend the shelf-life of foo ...

Recommended for you

Google worker shows early-draft glimpse of Chrome OS

Jul 20, 2014

The Chrome OS is in for a future look. Athena, a Chromium OS project, will bring forth the new Chrome OS user experience. Google's François Beaufort on Friday, referring to the screenshot he posted, said," ...

Google eyes Chrome on Windows laptop battery drain

Jul 19, 2014

Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows has been said to have a problem for some time but this week comes news that Google will give it the attention others think the problem quite deserves. Namely, Google is to ...

Mental-health monitoring goes mobile

Jul 16, 2014

Behavioral health analytics startup Ginger.io sees smartphones as "automated diaries" containing valuable insight into the mental well-being of people with mental illnesses.

User comments : 0