Need to do your nails? Robots promise to play the role of manicure

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NEW YORK – Can you imagine a robot doing his, like a manicure? Because that’s what three are working on startups Americans, to advance the lives of women in the salon of beauty. Clockwork, Coral and Nimble have developed distinct technologies and different business models to give customers rapid color change at their fingertips.

One of the start-ups, at least, had an amusing origin. Nimble’s girlfriend Omri Moran was late for a date with him. Reason: the nails were horrible, the result of a clumsy manicure. Soon, he began to envision a robotic approach to manicures and went to work on his idea, which has grown into the company he currently works for. The concept, which two other start-ups are working on separately, seeks to provide a simple, fail-safe way to paint nails.

robotic arms

The technology incorporates some kind of hardware — like a robotic arm — to paint nails, with software that relies on machine learning to distinguish a nail from the skin around it. Each company uses a different approach, but essentially relies on digitizing thousands of nail shapes to create a database.

The cameras inside the devices take pictures of each user’s nails, a process that is repeated every time a manicure is done, including on the same person.

The devices are still being tested and changed prior to their market debut. And none of the three companies are offering a full salon manicure, complete with styling and polishing. Still, they can compete with the growing nail care market.