L’Oréal and Dassault Systemes Team Up to Reveal the Surprising Structure of Hair in 3D with CATIA V5

Clichy, France, October 7, 2002 – L’Oréal Recherche and Dassault Systemes today announced that L’Oréal researchers are using CATIA V5 computer-assisted design (CAD) software from Dassault Systemes for education and research on the hair follicle. The three-dimensional images present the mini-organ as it has never been seen before.

There are 150,000 follicles in the scalp. Each is associated with a muscle, a sebaceous gland, and a sweat gland. The follicle produces hair fiber for about three years at which point a phase of rapid degeneration occurs (three weeks) followed by a three-month rest phase during which the hair falls out. In a process unique to humans, the follicle then regenerates itself from stem-cell reservoirs and once again begins production of the hair.

To date, one of the biggest challenges facing L’Oréal scientists was the difficulty of creating a clear and concise three-dimensional image of the follicle. With CATIA V5, they can now create mock-ups or virtual models and visualize in 3D the relative position of the different components of this familiar yet surprising part of the body. The benefits are both educational and scientific.

Existing solid models of hair are not adapted for handling. Histological cuts have been performed with 2D tools, and it has not been possible to visualize, manipulate, or modify at will in space the different elements of the follicle. By enabling a virtual mock-up of a hair, CATIA V5 finally permits us to capture the complexity of this organ in space,” said Bruno Bernard, Project Director, Hair Biology Research, L’Oréal. “CATIA V5 is an exceptional learning tool that not only allows virtual cuts from all angles and levels desired, but also facilitates understanding of the internal constraints and changes this organ undergoes during its cycle.

This partnership between L’Oréal and Dassault Systemes is very significant because it expands the scope of 3D Product Lifecycle Management (3D PLM) solutions such as CATIA V5,” said Etienne Droit, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Dassault Systemes. “Traditionally, CATIA V5 has been used to design cars, planes, and machinery. L’Oréal is now using CATIA to study a living object. The long-term perspectives are very exciting because the same approach could be applied to study different parts of the body, such as skin for example.


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