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3D printing hair is as easy as using a hot glue gun

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Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised an ingenious method for creating lifelike hair fibers the only requires a common, inexpensive fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer. The technique is surprisingly simple: the printer squeezes out a small dollop of molten plastic and then pulls away, stretching the material into a long strand -- much like the sticky strings that hot glue guns leave behind.

Unfortunately, each hair has to be created individually so the process is quite slow. Printing just 10 square millimeters of hair takes more than 20 minutes. However, the resulting product is reportedly quite lifelike and can be styled just like the real thing. Plus, depending on how densely the fibers are packed and their positioning, they can potentially be used in a variety of applications -- from hairpieces to toothbrush bristles.

The Carnegie Mellon team will present their research on November 11th at the UIST 2015 symposium in Charlotte, NC. But before that, they're going to show off these luscious plastic locks at tonight's Engadget Live event in Brooklyn. Like you needed another reason to attend.

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