Monday, March 20, 2006

The cutting edge

As most people will have noticed razors seem to be acquiring ever greater numbers of blades these days. The razor manufacturers, in particular Gillette, seem to like adding new blades to their razors. The latest arrival is the Gillette Fusion, which has a whopping 5 blades (6 if you count the single blade on the back of the Fusion, for 'tricky' areas).

This is, of course, largely about marketing. There isn't any real consumer demand for more blades on product, any more than there is a demand for antibacterial plastic or tounge scrapers on toothbrushes.

Nevertheless, the rate of of introduction of new blades (plotted above) does make one wonder whether there is a link with the rate at which materials technology progresses. More blades, means lighter and stronger materials have to be used. So do we have a Moore's Law for razor blades?

Various bits of analysis on this curve suggest we'll go into blade hyperdrive anytime in the next few years or so. More conservatively, by 2100, the 14-bladed razor will have arrived--whether we want it or not. Anyone care to bet that that five isn't the end of the road? With Gillette's latest arrival it has trademarked the term 'Shaving surface'. Nano blades anyone?

The cutting edge
Mar 16th 2006
A Moore's law for razor blades? (more...)
The Economist

For a hilarious take on this story, written long before Gillette announced its five-bladed razor, see The Onion, F*ck everything we're doing five blades (more...)