The kiwi garage.
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
HairSense is a project I started a few years ago after a journey into figuring out what kind of work would really excite me. I always loved inventing and building stuff as a kid, and as an adult I've been fascinated by the potential for automation in improving people's lives. So I guess it was only natural for these two thing to combine into a new found passion - that of hardware and automation! So what better way to learn this new field than to start my own hardware project.
In typical kiwi fashion I jumped straight in. What could I automate? I needed something small enough that I had the resources to make it happen. But it had to be at least a 10x improvement over what was out there, so that if I could pull it off, people would actually find it useful. To maintain my own motivation, I wanted to try to build something that people would find of value.
So in 2013, the first idea I had was an automated salad vending machine. Customise your salad on the touch panel and its made in front of you - fresh salad for cheap! But I quickly dismissed this idea. It was way beyond my resources - custom steel welding, huge glass panels. Building that would cost a lot.
A few months later I was getting my hair cut. I love my barber, but I'd just waited 40 minutes on his shop couch for my turn. My barber is a 10 minutes drive away, so by the time I got home my afternoon was gone. Cue light bulb moment - could you automate a haircut? Na, too crazy. But how convenient would it be if I could get my favourite style cut at home.
So HairSense was born. I knew it was kinda crazy and audacious - but it felt really ... interesting. I had no idea what I was doing - or what I was getting into. I got out the number 8 wire (well the modern equivalent, I went out and bought a 3D printer) and started work in my garage.
A big lesson I've learnt - it's important to be passionate about what you are working on. A lot of people say passion is overrated in the real world. But it's only with that passion in what you are doing that you can push through those really hard moments. If it wasn't for my true interest in what I'm working on, I would have given up on HairSense a long time ago.