Removing all the hair that gets stuck in your hairbrush could become a tedious and not to mention, disgusting task, and no matter what you do you can never get each strand out. Associate professor of design of Ohio State University, Scott Shim saw his wife cleaning her hairbrush and that got him thinking. Researching the subject, he learned that people would rather buy a new hairbrush than clean their old one.
Shim along with former graduate student Morris Koo came up a hairbrush with a new, innovative design. “We don’t want people to have to throw away a perfectly good hairbrush just because it needs to be cleaned.” So in an effort to keep all of those hairbrushes out of landfills, they invented, and then 3D printed what they call the “Maze Hairbrush.” It gets its name because the paddle part of the brush looks like a maze with individual sections that flex forward and backward to make removing hair easy.
The rows of bristles of the hairbrush pull apart for easy cleaning. “Our goal was for the user to easily remove hair from the bristles. We latched on to this idea that brushes usually have a solid surface that gets in the way of cleaning. We decided that the best solution would be to create a brush with an open surface, where the user could actually open it and just grab the hair.” The Maze design also simplifies manufacturing. Hair brushes are often manufactured in several parts and then assembled, whereas the Maze hairbrush can be created in one injection-molded piece before the bristles are added.
Currently, Shim and Koo are making prototypes by 3D-printing the brush bases one at a time and then inserting the bristles by hand. They are looking for strong, flexible plastics that will suit mass production. The brush has won two awards so far. It placed first in the Beauty, Personal Care and Cosmetic Products Design Category of the A Design Awards in Italy, and won a Green Product Award from the White Lobster, a German agency for sustainable innovation.