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Title:
HAIR-STYLING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/048520
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A hair-styling apparatus (410) is provided which comprises a helmet (412) receivable around a head of a user, and at least one styling module (20) which is attached to and movable about an interior of the helmet (412). The or each styling module (420) includes a styling tool which is actuatable to and from the user's head. A controller is also supplied for providing control instructions to the or each styling module (420) as well as a user input device for selecting control instructions to be sent to the controller based on a desired hair style.

Inventors:
BAGHI MASOUD MASSIMO (GB)
Application Number:
GB2020/051978
Publication Date:
March 18, 2021
Filing Date:
August 19, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BAGHI MASOUD MASSIMO (GB)
International Classes:
A45D44/00; A45D24/36; A45D44/02; B26B19/38; B26B19/48
Domestic Patent References:
WO2018126827A12018-07-12
Foreign References:
JP2016132093A2016-07-25
CN109077433A2018-12-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOHERTY, William Gerard et al. (County HouseBayshill Road, Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL50 3BA, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) comprising: a helmet (12; 112; 412) receivable around a head of a user; at least one styling module (20; 120; 420) which is attached to and movable about an interior and/or exterior of the helmet (12; 112; 412); the or each styling module (20; 120; 420) including a styling tool which is actuatable to and from the user’s head; a controller for providing control instructions to the or each styling module (20; 120; 420); and a user input device for selecting control instructions to be sent to the controller based on a desired hair style.

2. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the styling tool is selected from any one of: a hair engagement member (24a; 124a; 424a); a hair clipper (24b; 124b; 424b); scissors; a blade; a sprayer (24i; 424i); a hairdryer (24e; 124e; 424e); a hair iron; a curler; a hair dye applicator; a brush; a vacuum (24d); a comb (24g; 424g); a comb divider (24f); a twisting tool; an untwisting tool; a designing tool; a curler and/or bigudi tool; a colouring tool; or a hair measurement element (24c; 424c).

3. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein a plurality of said styling tools is provided for the or each styling module (20; 120).

4. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the or each styling module (20; 120; 420) is attached to and movable about an internal and/or external surface (128) of the helmet (12; 112; 412).

5. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 4, wherein the helmet includes one or more rails on the internal and/or external surface (128) along which the or each styling module (20; 120; 420) is movable.

6. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 4, wherein the helmet (12; 112) includes a rotatable ring (464) to which the or each styling module (20; 120; 420) is mountable.

7. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a distance sensor associated with the or each styling module (20; 120), the controller providing control instructions to the or each styling module (20) based on an output of the distance sensor.

8. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the or each styling module (20; 120; 420) includes a robotic actuator arm (468)for actuating the styling tool associated therewith.

9. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the user input device is any one of: a computer; smart phone; or laptop.

10. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a robotic actuator arm (22) to which the helmet (12; 112; 412) is attached.

11. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 10, further comprising an external sensor for providing control feedback information for the robotic actuator arm (22).

12. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the helmet comprises a flexible outer box (16).

13. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 12, wherein the flexible outer box is actuatable relative to the user’s head.

14. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 12 or claim 13, wherein the flexible outer box has a concertinaed extendable portion.

15. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9, further comprising an extendable wall bracket to which the helmet is mounted.

16. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a computer application on the user input device which is configured to allow the user to select a hair style based on division and line.

17. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the styling tool is mounted to an extendable and retractable member (126) which is attached to the associated styling module.

18. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 17, wherein the extendable and retractable member (126) is receivable within the associated styling module (20; 120).

19. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a head engagement element for engaging with the user’s head to assist with positioning of the styling tool of the or each styling module. 20. A hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in claim 19, wherein the head engagement element comprises a flexible headband.

21 . A hair-styling system for allowing a user to select a desired style for their hair, the system comprising; a hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims; and a computing device comprising the user input device of the hair styling apparatus, the computing device including a computer application configured to allow the user to select a hair style.

22. A method for automatically styling a user’s hair according to a desired style, the method comprising the steps of: a] determining a desired hair style; b] providing a hair-styling apparatus (10; 110; 410) as claimed in any one of claims

1 to 20; c] inputting, via the user input device, control instructions for the desired hair style; and d] positioning the helmet (12; 112; 412) around the user’s head to style the user’s hair in accordance with the control instructions.

Description:
Hair-Styling Apparatus

The present invention relates to a hair-styling apparatus for automatically creating a hair style for a user utilising said apparatus. The invention further relates to a hair-styling system for allowing a user to select a desired style for their hair, and also to a method for automatically styling a user’s hair according to a desired style.

At present, hair styling, and in particular cutting, is performed by a hair stylist or barber in a salon environment. The individual requiring hair styling must not only convey to the stylist what desired style they want, but must also trust that the stylist is sufficiently able or competent to understand and implement their request.

Styling may encompass many different things, including but not limited to cutting, curling, straightening, colouring, perming, washing and drying, and so on. There are lots of potential avenues for misunderstanding between stylist and customer, or for mistakes to occur.

The present invention seeks to provide an automated mechanism for a user to choose and implement a desired hair style.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a hair-styling apparatus comprising: a helmet receivable around a head of a user; at least one styling module which is attached to and movable about an interior and/or exterior of the helmet; the or each styling module including a styling tool which is actuatable to and from the user’s head; a controller for providing control instructions to the or each styling module; and a user input device for selecting control instructions to be sent to the controller based on a desired hair style.

The provision of a hair-styling apparatus which allows the user to select a desired hair style and then automatically have the hair style applied, will vastly simplify the process of cutting and styling hair. The need for a human stylist is eliminated, and the user is able to select the correct hair style with a high degree of accuracy.

Preferably, the styling tool may be selected from any one of: a hair engagement member; a hair clipper; scissors; a blade; a sprayer; a hairdryer; a hair iron; a curler; a hair dye applicator; a brush; a vacuum; a comb; a comb divider; a twisting tool; an untwisting tool; a designing tool; a curler and/or bigudi tool; a colouring tool; or a hair measurement element.

Optionally, a plurality of said styling tools may be provided for the or each styling module. It is preferred that the hair-styling apparatus have a plurality of different styling tools, in order that the apparatus have a wide functionality beyond mere cutting and brushing.

In one preferred embodiment, the or each styling module may be attached to and movable about an internal and/or external surface of the helmet.

One of the important aspects of the present invention is that the hair-styling apparatus is capable of reproducing specific hair styles in accordance with the user’s desired style. In order to achieve this, it may be necessary for the styling module itself to be movable within the helmet.

Optionally, the helmet may include one or more rails on the internal and/or external surface along which the or each styling module is movable. Alternatively, no rails may be provided.

One method by which internal motion of the or each styling module in the helmet can be achieved is by the provision of dedicated rails, which provide specific travel directions therein. The rails can be positioned so that an appropriate range of motion can be achieved which accesses all parts of the user’s head which must be styled.

As an alternative, the helmet may include a rotatable ring to which the or each styling module is mountable.

A rotatable ring provides 360° control of the styling modules around the user’s head, allowing for full realisation of the possible style options for the user.

The hair-styling apparatus may further comprise a distance sensor associated with the or each styling module, the controller providing control instructions to the or each styling module based on an output of the distance sensor.

A distance sensor allows the styling module and/or styling tools to determine a proximity to the user’s head, and/or to specific portions of the user’s hair. This provides feedback instructions for the controller, so that the correct styling actions can be performed.

Preferably, the user input device may be any one of: a computer; smart phone; or laptop.

A computing device provides a suitable input console via which the user is able to input commands to the controller. This may then allow the user to remotely pre-select their desired style, rather than waiting at the salon.

A robotic actuator arm may be provided to which the helmet is attached. A robotic actuator arm may serve several different functions. Firstly, it may allow for the helmet to be raised and lowered according to a position of the user therein. Furthermore, it may also allow for lateral positioning of the helmet, so that a single hair-styling apparatus could feasibly be used for user’s sat in different positions within the salon.

The hair-styling apparatus may further comprise an external sensor for providing control feedback information for the robotic actuator arm.

If the hair-styling apparatus is to be fully automated, rather than part-manually controlled, then external feedback information should be provided in order for the helmet position to be referenced with respect to the user. This can avoid accident or injury for the user.

Optionally, the helmet may comprise a flexible outer box.

The provision of a flexible outer box allows for the repositioning of the styling module therein with respect to the user, without necessary moving the helmet itself, which is likely formed of a hard material such as a plastics material. This allows the apparatus to accommodate different lengths of hair.

Said flexible outer box may be actuatable relative to the user’s head.

The repositioning of the flexible outer box also allows for the movement of the styling tools therein, so that cutting and styling can be achieved in the correct position within the helmet.

Preferably, the flexible outer box may have a concertinaed extendable portion.

A concertina arrangement is a simple extension retraction mechanism which will allow for a change in the length of the flexible outer box in order to accommodate the different lengths of hair.

In one alternative arrangement, there may be an extendable wall bracket to which the helmet is mounted.

In this arrangement, the hair-styling apparatus may be more easily retro-fitted into existing hair salons, improving the ease with which consumers can access the automated procedures available.

In a preferable arrangement, a computer application may be provided on the user input device which is configured to allow the user to select a hair style based on division and line.

The ability to select regions of the head which can be divided up allows the user to create a bespoke hairstyle which is not limited by their ability to verbally express the form of the desired hairstyle. This vastly extends the range of hair style available to an average user. Optionally, the styling tool may be mounted to an extendable and retractable member which is attached to the associated styling module.

Rather than the styling module itself being movable to and from the user’s head, it is preferred that the styling tools be positioned on some sort of actuator arm or similar mechanism which allows the tool to accurately engage with the user’s hairwithout collision.

The extendable and retractable member may be receivable within the associated styling module.

For stowing the styling tools, it is preferred that they are retractable within the confines of the styling module. This allows for the styling tools to be supported fully, with a reduced risk of damage to the styling tools.

A head engagement element for engaging with the user’s head may be provided to assist with positioning of the styling tool of the or each styling module. The head engagement element may comprise a flexible headband.

The provision of something which engages with the user’s head advantageously provides a means of determining head position without needing complex sensors. The flexible headband is comfortable, and may also serve to divide the head into the quadrants used in the accompanying app.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a hair-styling system for allowing a user to select a desired style for their hair, the system comprising; a hair-styling apparatus in accordance with the first aspect of the invention; and a computing device comprising the user input device of the hair styling apparatus, the computing device including a computer application configured to allow the user to select a hair style.

The present system allows for a wide variety of different hair styles to be selected by a user and then automatically created on their head. This makes the hair styling process much simpler for the user, particularly if they require a complex or bespoke hair style.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for automatically styling a user’s hair according to a desired style, the method comprising the steps of: a] determining a desired hair style; b] providing a hair-styling apparatus in accordance with the first aspect of the invention; c] inputting, via the user input device, control instructions for the desired hair style; and d] positioning the helmet around the user’s head to style the user’s hair in accordance with the control instructions. It is beneficial to provide a means by which a user can select, and then automatically order, a desired hair style via an automated hair-styling apparatus. This can reduce the confusion on the user’s part when visiting a salon or barber shop, increase the range or variety of hair styles available to the user, and also potentially improve the efficiency of the styling process.

The invention will now be more particularly described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows a diagrammatic perspective representation of a first embodiment of a hairstyling apparatus in accordance with the first aspect of the invention;

Figure 2 shows a diagrammatic front representation of possible configurations of the hairstyling apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a diagrammatic front representation of an adjusted position of the hairstyling apparatus of Figure 1 for use with different hair lengths;

Figure 4 shows a diagrammatic perspective representation of a second embodiment of a hair-styling apparatus in accordance with the first aspect of the invention;

Figure 5 shows a side representation of the hair-styling apparatus of Figure 4;

Figure 6 shows a user interface for allowing a user to select a possible hair style for use with a hair-styling system in accordance with the second aspect of the invention;

Figure 7 shows a user interface for allowing a user to delineate a representation of their head for use with a hair-styling system in accordance with the second aspect of the invention;

Figure 8 shows a perspective representation of a third embodiment of a hair-styling apparatus in accordance with the first aspect of the invention;

Figure 9 shows a perspective view from below of the hair-styling apparatus of Figure 8;

Figure 10 shows a perspective representation of a styling module of the hair-styling apparatus of Figure 9; and

Figure 11 shows a front representation of the hair-styling apparatus of Figure 9 in-use.

Referring to Figure 1 , there is illustrated a hair-styling apparatus, indicated globally at 10, which is capable of automatically styling a user’s hair. The hair styling apparatus 10 includes a helmet 12 which is receivable over a user’s head, and which may be connected to an overhead control and styling unit 14. The helmet 12 may be dimensioned so that there is a uniform expected clearance around the user’s head, so that styling tools can access the user’s hair without collision.

The term helmet is used here to represent any appropriately dimensioned head covering, and need not necessarily be shaped as per a conventional helmet. No limitation on shape or form is intended to be conveyed by this definition, and other shapes receivable around or over the head could be considered.

The helmet 12 is preferably provided as a continuous sheath, and may have an access aperture in the top thereof via which the overhead control and styling unit 14 is engagable.

The overhead control and styling unit 14 may be provided as a flexible outer box 16, for instance, having a concertinaed extendable portion 18, and within which, or inclusive as part of, there is provided at least one styling module 20. Here, there is one such styling module 20, and said styling module 20 may comprise the entire overhead control and styling unit 14.

The vertical, or indeed horizontal, position of the overhead control and styling unit 14 may be adjustable, either alongside, or with respect to, the helmet 12. This may be achieved by attachment of the overhead control and styling unit 14 and/or helmet 12 to a robotic actuator arm 22.

The styling module 20 includes at least one styling tool. In Figure 1 , two such styling tools are shown: a hair engagement member 24a; and a clipper 24b. At least one, and preferably each, of the styling tools 24a, 24b is mounted to an extendable and retractable member 26, such as an actuatable arm, and this extendable and retractable member may be fully or partially receivable within the styling module 20 and/or the overhead control and styling unit 14.

An array of potential styling tools is shown in Figure 2, which could feasibly be used as part of the overhead control and styling unit 14 of Figure 1. The styling tools could be releasably and/or interchangeably incorporated into the overhead control and styling unit 14.

A non-exhaustive list of styling tools which could be used includes: a hair engagement member 24a; a clipper 24b; a hair measuring element 24c; a vacuum 24d; a hairdryer 24e; a comb divider 24f; a comb 24g; an edge cutter 24h; or a sprayer 24i.

An example of how the overhead control and styling unit 14 might operate in practice is shown in Figure 3. In inset (a) of Figure 3, a user with long hair is shown. In order for the overhead control and styling unit 14 to accommodate long hair, the robotic actuator arm 22 can be retracted, and the flexible outer box 16 extended to its full length. The hair engagement member 24a can be moved into engagement with a portion of hair to be cut, drawing the hair out to the desired length. The hair engagement member 24a may therefore be replicating the functionality of a stylist’s hand, and therefore may be shaped accordingly, having a plurality of digits which are engagable with the user’s hair, equivalent to fingers. The movement of the hair engagement member 24a may be calculated by the provision of a physical hair measuring element, or alternatively could be determined by one or more sensors associated with the hair engagement element 24a. For instance, there may be a sensor associated with a tip of the hair engagement element 24a which can be used to determine the relative position thereof with respect to the user. For instance, a distance sensor could be provided.

Alternatively, the position of the tip of the styling tool could be determined based on the respective position and/or angle of the styling tool, for example, by a referencing algorithm.

Insets (b), (c) and (d) of Figure 3 show the situation in which the user has shorter and shorter hair, and the consequential adjustments required for the positioning of the styling tools. In Figure 3(b), instead of the extendable and retractable member 26 of the styling tool being adjusted, the extension of the overhead control and styling unit 14 is changed, so that the flexible outer box 16 concertinas or otherwise collapses or retracts onto itself. This alters the position of the styling module 20 without requiring repositioning of the styling tools. A further advance of the overhead control and styling unit 14 is shown in Figure 3(c).

In Figure 3(d), both the position and angle of the extendable and retractable members 26 of the styling tools has been adjusted, such that the hair engagement element 24a and clippers 24b are in fact received within the helmet 12.

The operation of the styling module 20 is controlled by a controller, such as a processor which may be installed as part of, or external to, the styling module 20. This allows for control instructions to be provided to the styling module 20 and/or directly to the styling tools, so that the desired hair style can be produced.

In order to effect control instructions, there is also provided a user input device, which may for example be a smartphone, desktop computer, laptop, or tablet computer, which allows the user to select the desired style for the controller to instruct the hair styling apparatus 10 to carry out. This may be provided as a computer application loaded onto the user input device, via which the user may visually style a virtual avatar and from which the hair styling apparatus 10 is able to determine the relevant control instructions to apply the style to the specific user’s hair. Preferably, the styling tools do not operate simultaneously, but instead, are operable in a specific order which allows for automatic control, cutting and styling of the user’s hair, section by section, of the user’s head.

A second embodiment of hair-styling apparatus is indicated in Figure 4, and is referenced globally at 110. Identical or similar component parts to those of the first embodiment will be referenced using identical or similar reference numerals, and further detailed description will be omitted for brevity.

In this version of the hair-styling apparatus 110, the dimensions of the helmet 112 are increased, so that there is more clearance around the user’s head. Instead of there being a separate overhead control and styling unit, at least one, and potentially a plurality of styling modules 120 are provided so as to be attached to and movable about an internal surface 128 of the helmet 112. For instance, each of the styling modules 120 may be provided on rails attached to the internal surface 128. The or each styling module 120 may be provided with a motorised drive, motor, or drive unit, which allows the styling modules 120 to travel along the rails.

Only one styling module 120 is shown in Figure 4, having a hair engagement member 124a and clippers 124b. Said styling module is shown in a plurality of different positions, which may be along rails of the helmet 112, to indicate how the styling tools may access different parts of the user’s head. Towards the top of the user’s head, that is, where the styling module 120 is positioned towards the upper part of the inner surface, the controller may be configured to activate both the hair engagement member 124a and clippers 124b to engage and cut the user’s hair, which is typically longer at this point than at the sides of the head.

On the other hand, towards a lower and/or side portion of the user’s head, and therefore at a corresponding part of the helmet 112, the controller may only activate the relevant extendable and retractable member 126 associated with the clippers 124b, since the user’s hair will typically not be long enough to be engaged by a hair engagement member 124a.

The determination of which configuration and/or actuating motion is most appropriate for the styling module 120 is preferably governed according to predetermined rules input to the controller via a user input device. Preferably, the or each styling module 120 includes sensors, such as a position, altitude, accelerometer, or similar sensor which is capable of determining an expected position of the styling tools with respect to a user’s head. Such feedback control using sensors is preferred, since the hair-styling apparatus 110 can accommodate users with different head sizes, orwho may not be able to sit perfectly still inside the helmet 112. An alternative helmet 112 configuration is shown in Figure 5, in which the helmet 112 has been reclined so that the user is leaning backwards. This is a typical position for a hair wash. The styling module 120 here includes a shower attachment 124j, a shampoo and/or conditioner applicator 124k, and a hairdryer 124e which provide the necessary equipment to wash and dry the user’s hair. A water outflow conduit 130 is also provided to drain soapy water from the helmet 112.

As such, in order to provide the reclining functionality, the helmet 112 could be provided on a hinged or similarly pivotable or tilting mount. Alternatively, the robotic actuator arm could control tilt angle, where provided. It will also be appreciated that this arrangement could be provided as a separate dedicated hair-styling apparatus having a fixed tilt angle.

The means by which the controller is provided with control instructions is through a user input device. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the user input device is provided with a user interface, such as those shown in Figures 6 and 7.

Figure 6 shows an indicative user interface 200, in which a variety of displayable models 250 with different hair styles is indicated. Preferably, each of the models 250 is a three-dimensional model, with which the user may interact in order to fully visualise the effect of the hairstyle in question.

For example, the displayable models 250 may have distinctive hair profiles from the front, side, or rear, which may be selectable by the user. Profiles, particularly rear or side profiles where clippers may be used to create sharp edge lines, may be defined according to specific lines, such as square, tapered, or pointed shapes.

Another user interface 300 is shown in Figure 7, and shows how a user’s head may be divided into specific head regions or divisions, allowing the user to tailor their specific hair style requirements in accordance with the divisions or lines shown. This may allow for unique hair styles to be created simply.

The user interface 300 may allow the user to make lines within the divisions, choose the particular styling module which is required for creating the desired hair style, make or edit the divisions on the head, and/or make bespoke two- or three-dimensional models 350 for visualisation of the selected hair style.

A desired hair style can then be chosen via the user interface 300, for example, based on the divisions and lines. For instance, the user may select a line style for sideburns, such as finish, or semi finish. Different lengths of the top, round, sides, and semi-finish may be selected; forexample, the top of the hair may be 30cm long, the hair round the back 25cm long, the side and back being 8cm long, and the semi-finish being 4cm long. The divisions placed on the model 350 using the user interface 300 may be used to select the different regions on the head. Once the user has selected the hair style, they can enter the hair styling apparatus which can automatically cut and/or style the hair. The provision of the specific user interfaces 200; 300 allows for the creation of a full hair-styling system when used in conjunction with the aforementioned hair-styling apparatuses 10; 110.

For the various operational modes of the hair-styling apparatus, different styling tools may be required.

For example, a cutting box set of styling module may include a hair measuring tool, a sprayer, a division tool, and a cutting and/or grabbing tool. Other possible equipment might include a hairdryer and/or vacuum device.

For a colouring box set of styling module, a division tool, hair engagement element, brushing and colouring tools may be provided.

For a designing box set of styling module, there may be provided a division tool, a cutting design tool, and a vacuum device.

For a hair washing and drying set of styling module, there may be provided a tool for applying shampoo and liquids, a massage tool, a rinsing inlet, and a water outlet, which may include a suction pump, for example. The water outlet will likely be formed as part of the helmet, rather than the styling module, however.

For a hair drying and brushing set of styling module, there may be provided a division tool, a grabbing tool, a brush, and/or a hairdryer.

Fora twisting and untwisting set of styling module, there may be provided a division tool, a grabbing tool, a twisting tool and/or untwisting tool, a brush, and/or a sprayer.

For a hair bigudi or roller set of styling module, there may be provided a division tool, a grabbing tool, a sprayer, a brush, and/or a bigudi tool or rollers.

For a hair curler set of styling module, there may be provided a division tool, a grabbing tool, a sprayer, a brush, and/or a curling tool, such as a curling iron.

For a hair straightening set of styling module, a division tool, grabbing tool, sprayer, brush, straightening tool such as a straightening tool, and/or hairdryer may be provided.

For a hair extension set of styling module, there may be provided a division tool, a grabbing tool, a sprayer, a brush, a twisting tool, and/or an extension tool. Fora hair colouring set of styling module, there may be provided a grabbing tool, and/ora colouring tool.

A further embodiment of a hair-styling apparatus is shown in Figure 8, indicated at 410 above a barber’s or hairdresser’s chair 460.

The helmet412 is provided so as to be connected to a wall in the salon via an extendable armature 422, which may be a manual scissor armature to permit the user to manually pull the helmet 412 into position above their head.

The hair-styling apparatus may comprise a visor 462 which surrounds the user’s head in-use to allow the user to look out without splashes escaping from the helmet 412. The visor 462 is therefore preferably transparent or translucent. The outer shell of the helmet 412 may preferably be manufactured from injection or compression moulded plastic material.

Figure 9 shows the internal mechanisms of the hair-styling apparatus 410 in more detail. Rather than the rails outlined in the previous embodiments of the invention, a rotatable ring 464 is provided which permits 360° motion within the helmet 412 around the user’s head. A similar rotatable plate could be provided to achieve the same effect.

In order for the hair-styling apparatus to correctly determine the position of the user’s head, there may one or more sensors 466 mounted to the rotatable ring 464. The rotatable ring 464 also provides a suitable mounting point for the styling modules 420, each having styling tools, such as the hair engagement element 424a, clipper 424b, hairdryer 424e, comb 424g, or sprayer 424i as shown. Furthermore, the styling modules 420 have a robotic actuator arm 468 which, in particular, provide the vertical adjustment necessary for the styling tools to contact the user’s head, based on the input form the one or more sensors 466. One example of a styling module 420 is shown in more detail in Figure 10.

The robotic actuator arm 468 preferably has multiple degrees of motion. This can be achieved by having an actuator arm having a plurality of individually actuatable portions, so that a full range of motion can be achieved. The robotic actuator arm 468 can be connected to the rotatable ring 464 via a ball or similar universal joint 470.

The robotic actuator arm 468 may have individual actuator segments 472a, 472b, which may be pivotable to one another to permit a wide range of movement, and the styling tool 424b may be mounted to one end of a piston or actuator rod 474, preferably via a pivoting joint 476.

The clipper 424b shown may be a combi-tool, which has a comb portion designed to comb through a user’s hair, and trim it to a set length. To achieve this, the comb may be automatically adjustable with respect to the trimmer portions of the clipper 424b. There may also be an in-built vacuum to help evacuate hair away from the trimming blades and reduce mess where possible. The tool attached to the robotic actuator arm 468 may be releasably engagable, so that different tools could be attached, and/or a plurality of different tools could be engaged with a single robotic actuator arm 468.

The controller of the hair-styling apparatus 410 is configured to determine the correct position for the styling tool 424b based on the user’s head position as identified by a measuring tool 424c, such as the sensors 466.

In an indicative use procedure, the user would, for example via a computer screen or smartphone app, tell the hair-styling apparatus 410 what sort of haircut they would like to receive. This would allow them to select the quadrants and length of cut as well as the style and type of haircut, analogous to the process outlined in respect of Figures 6 and 7.

In an exemplary embodiment, a wet and dry cut might be selected. The hair-styling apparatus 410 first dampens the use’s hair with the sprayer 424i. This can be achieved all around the user’s head bv rotation of the rotatable ring 464.

The hair engagement element 424a can be actuated using the robotic actuator arm 468 to grasp the correct portion of the user’s hair, thereby allowing the comb 424g and/or clipper 424b to better engage with the hair for styling. Dependent upon the length of cut selected, the comb and/or cutter tool 424b would start combing through a user’s hair and trimming it to the correct length. The comb and/or cutter tool 424b may preferably also include a vacuum element to extract cut hair away from the user.

Once the hair was cut, an integrated hair dryer 424e may be deployed to dry the user’s hair. The integrated hair dryer 424e may be connected to a robotic actuator arm 468 to permit stowing away close to the rotatable ring 464 away from the user’s head in use, only extending when necessary.

A trimmer could then be extended to help neaten the edges around the ears and the back of the neck to ensure an even cut.

It will be appreciated that, although the helmet 412 of the hair styling apparatus 410 is illustrated as a wall-mounted unit, the feature of the rotatable ring 464 and styling tools affixed via robotic actuator arms 468 could readily be integrated into the flexible outer box defined in respect of the first embodiment of the invention.

Figure 11 shows a further mechanism by which the user’s head position may be identified more accurately. A head clamp or restraint 476 may be provided, attached to an upper internal portion of the helmet 412 which may limit the amount of movement which the user can make with their head, reducing the likelihood of erroneous sensing and therefore positioning of the styling tools.

Alternatively, and in the preferred embodiment, the head restraint 476 can be a flexible headband with inbuilt sensors to allow the hair-styling apparatus 410 to detect and track the user’s head. This is preferably performed via infra-red sensing motion sensing technology.

The flexible headband may also help to divide the user’s hair into predefined quadrants, allowing for them to select the cut length and style for each section of hair.

It is therefore possible to provide an apparatus and/or system which is capable of receiving control instructions from a user, and then automatically create the desired hair style for the user. The apparatus includes a helmet and at least one styling module which allows the necessary styling tools to be engaged with a user’s hair inside the helmet. Preferably, style selection can all be performed via a user device, such as their own smartphone.

The words ‘comprises/comprising’ and the words ‘having/including’ when used herein with reference to the present invention are used to specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, components or groups thereof.

It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable sub-combination.

The embodiments described above are provided by way of examples only, and various other modifications will be apparent to persons skilled in the field without departing from the scope of the invention as defined herein.