Get Inked the Robot Way

Team turns advanced robotics and 3D printing into a digital robot artist.


Tattoos are not necessarily my style, but they’ve certainly taken the world by storm judging from the legions of folks from all walks of life sporting some pretty amazing ink.

As part of the rite of passage, you settle in with a human tattoo artist (depending on how complicated your design is) who, much like your hair dresser, is either going to talk your ear off or be curt and aloof, making for some potentially long and awkward moments.

A team of French designers aims to change that dynamic. Pierre Emm and Johan da Silveira, along with Autodesk engineer David Thomasson, are leveraging advancements in robotics, 3D printing, and 3D software to create an industrial robot that replaces the human tattoo artist, according to an article on Initially, the pair modified a Makerbot 3D printer with a tattoo gun, calling their invention Tatoue, the article said. Their follow up is built on an industrial robot, which uses a 3D scan of the area to be tattooed along with a 3D mockup of the design to lay down a tattoo on a person.

The pair is touting their process as an exercise in exploring “the intimate relationship people are likely to have with machines in the not-too-distant future,” the article said. While certainly an interesting use of robotics, the whole process feels a bit industrial and raw, if you ask me.

I’ll take the small talk to avoid freaking over the big needle.

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