Introduction: Laser Hair Regrowth
Receding hairline? Balding? Frustrated with your head? This might help.
A little back story. I'm 22, and I have been cursed with crummy genes, which equate to me starting to loose my hair. I have never one bought creams, gels, pills, treatments, or anything like that. When I heard about laser hair regrowth, I decided I had to check it out and see what was involved.
So I decided to leave a detailed account of my low budget prototype.
Please note that this is only a prototype, a proof of concept if you will.
Also this should go without saying but... DON'T mess with lasers, lasers will destroy your eyes, I know people who worked with lasers, and did not use proper eye protection and now have irreparable damage. They are dangerous, even laser pointers. Don't build this device, I don't know if it works, it could be harmful for all I know. At the time of writing this instructable, it is untested. Its a bad idea to do any sort of self treatment of any kind without consulting a doctor, a lawyer, and prime time medical drama.
I am not responsible if you choose to build this.
Step 1: Things You'll Need
First you'll need some basic electronic and hand tools
Desoldering Iron (ya know you'll mess something up),
Some things you'll need
Lasers @ ~660 nm
A big hairbrush
Box of electronic junk (for switches, wires, pots, etc)
Circuity to drive the lasers (option depending on the setup)
A sense of adventure!
Also most of my information came from this article that I found floating around somewhere online.. Laser hair therapy It filled in all the gaps for figuring out what needed to happen.
Step 2: Lasers... Getting the Party Started.
So according to my research, monochromatic laser light @ 660 nm is optimal for stimulating blood flow to hair follicles. Rather than actually buying real lasers, I opted to take the extremely cheap way. I found a lot of laser pointers on ebay for about $.75 per laser, their wavelength is reported as 630-680 nm, Close enough for a prototype.
When my lasers came in, I was shocked to see how craptasticly cheap they were. I broke about 35% of them in the disassemble process, which didn't really shock me. When I pulled them apart I found out that they had a little lens inside, taking the lens out caused the light to be diffused in a cool fat line pattern. This tickled me pink, I decided that this would be better than the dot configuration, because the light was more diffused.
I hacked all of my remaining laser pointers down with a dremel, and removed the button and battery clips, leaving only the limiting resistor and laser diode. This took forever and sucked. Then I soldered leads onto all of the laser boards...
Then I had 10 (arbitrary number that would fit in my brush) prepped and ready to go lasers.
Step 3: Putting It Together
I decided to model my device after many of the commercially available brush style ones. I started with a the biggest hair brush that CVS had.
I carefully measured holes along the sides to put two rows of lasers, I then completely ignored those measurements and just eyeballed it. I then turned the brush over and cut out the side parts of the brush finger things with a razor knife. I decided to keep the center part, as it seemed to have a scalp massaging effect (which is also supposed to help promote bloodflow.) In order to keep it from collapsing because I had compromised its structural integrity I put a piece of semi-rigid foam underneath it and glued it.
Next was lining up the lasers in the holes. I used silicon sealant to glue everything down, because it cures pretty fast, and is easily removable in the case of prototyping like this. Next was making it all work!
Step 4: Wires and Electricity and Stuff
Because the laser pointers had a rudimentary current limiting circuit, all I needed to do was match the input voltage. The Original laser pointers used 3 little 1.5v Button batteries, I simply upgraded it to 3 AA batteries, and soldered them together. Just to be on the safe side I put a 5K Potentiometer on, and carefully ramped up the voltage.
I actually have a bunch of parts on order from Digi-key for the next iteration, It will have a real current limiting circuit, I will be sure to post a new instructable for that.
I should have drawn up a schematic, but its an extremely simple circuit , Battery, Power switch, potentiometer, and the Lasers. Since the driving voltage was the same in my laser brush as in the laser pointers, I just hooked up the lasers in parallel , in 2 big wire bundles.
Step 5: Turning It On, and Making It Work!
So once its turned on, it has these delightfully powerful red lines of light. The idea behind it it to brush you hair for a few minutes, letting the little finger brushes massage your scalp, and the lasers penetrate your skin and promote hair growth. DO NOT look at the lasers, they are really bright, brighter than they seem.
So I haven't really tested mine more than just once, but I plan to try it for a few week on a daily regiment, similar to what is mentioned on the link from earlier.... Laser hair therapy.
If it works, I plan to make a far more complex one. One that you sit under and it moves a row of lasers back and forth over your scalp, between pre-defined parameters, on a set time. It will also have the ability to pulse the beam, which may or may not help. It will pump out alot more power and use real actually tuned lasers. The current version is outputting less than 10mW of laser power, whereas competitors products run at ~60mW.
As always I love to hear comments and possible improvements from people out there.
Hope you guys enjoyed