Through Science to a Better Tomorrow

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Young inventors promise to cure balding and save us from chores

Going bald? Just hate cleaning your windows? Young inventors from Moscow State University have been finding real solutions for some of society’s most annoying problems for this year’s Formula Biotech science startup accelerator. Working on tasks commissioned by major Russian companies, students have been showcasing some of their more ingenious solutions, some of which could soon be hitting shelves nationwide.

“The model is quite simple,” said Ivan Afanasov, head of the education program. “A task is chosen and a team is assembled to complete it. The team comes up with several solutions, the best ones are explored further and eventually a product or a service is created.” MOSLENTA caught up with some of the budding invators as they presented some of their most exciting scientific ideas.

Pulling vs Ripping

The sight of a lab, filed with the scent strange petroleum-smelling gel, is enough to make any non-scientist cautious. I’m starting to feel really uncomfortable when member of the science team applies some of the gel to my arm, sticks a white strip to it and pulls. With one jerking motion the strip comes off with all the hair- completely and painlessly. What a time to be alive! This invention is hoped to make the arduous task of self-grooming a little easier for men and women everywhere.

The ‘Hair Removal Gel’ project is unique. Developers focused on the different methods they could use to make skin appear hairless. The traditional method focuses on the top part of the hair and doesn’t remove the follicle, making the effect only short lived. “There was no way to painlessly remove the hair follicle , so we came up with our solution,” said team leader Alina Emelianova. “We apply our gel to the desired area and wait until the active ingredient enters the follicle, where it dissolves the bond between the skin and the bulb. After about half an hour, the gel congeals. So we don’t actually rip off the hair, we pull it out after it is no longer attached to anything.”

The procedure will only be available in beauty parlors. Certain skills and knowledge is needed to perform the treatment. Employees will be trained and licensed no earlier than in 2017, so you can’t try it out just yet.

Boldness, not Baldness

Removing hair is easy. It’s growing it back which is tricky. Luckily, it turns out that the brightest minds in cosmetic pharmaceuticals are capable of pretty much everything. One team has created tech that not only prevents further balding, but is actually capable of restoring a person’s own hair. Customers will be able to benefit from the procedure at participating hair salons as soon as this fall.

Petr Zaytsev, one of the project leaders, said: “One of the primary causes of balding is weakening of the hair follicles: They do not receive enough nutrients. Our products aim at rejuvenating the scalp and facilitating nutrient access. In order to grow a blood vessel, we need to send the right signal to certain cells.”

If your dreams go one step further and you’re planning to remain forever young, well, you’re in luck. Multi-factor products are here to relaunch natural mechanisms which your body fails to support with previous vigor. Zaytsev adds: “There is a hip word for it – comsoceuticals – a scientific mix of science and cosmetics. We use a scientific approach and special compounds which target particular cells and act in a particular way. We can facilitate collagen production for example, one of the primary processes which affect skin and complexion. We also use cytokines: proteins that are responsible for growth, division and other mechanisms in cells. We create our products based on such substances.”

Another biotech development in the cosmetology field is sol-gel. Young scientists believe it has the potential to significantly boost Russian medical technology by speeding up the healing of wounds. It’s both easy to apply, and has few limitations. Mix the two components, apply to the wounded area, and carry on. Sol-gel will do its thing while you do yours. Initially to be marketed as a cosmetic product, it may hit the shelves as soon as fall 2016.

Clean Windows Theory… and Practice

Scientific advances aren’t just helping your body, but your home as well. One of the worst part about cleaning your home, especially if you live in an apartment, is washing the windows. But fear not: The LighTiO project makes housekeeping a little easier. Simply apply once and forget the chore altogether: the glass just won’t become dirty in the first place.

LighTiO founder, Oleg Smirnov, says: “Glass technology has barely changed in the last 100 years. Yet certain coats can change the properties of glass, such as making it energy-saving by reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Another substance essentially prevents dirt from sticking to glass, essentially making it self-cleaning.”