France-based project Appropriate Audiences has hacked a MakerBot to enable anyone to print a tattoo design from their computer onto their skin.
The implications that 3D printing has for manufacturing is already well known, and many other industries have started to wake up to the idea of automatic product creation. We've even seen startups such as Mink tie the technology into cosmetics, with consumers able to 3D print their own makeup at home by picking a color from their computer. Now France-based project Appropriate Audiences has hacked a MakerBot to enable anyone to print a tattoo design from their computer onto their skin.
Called Tatoue, the machine was made from a modified desktop MakerBot by three French design students studying at ENSCI les Ateliers. As part of a workshop to remix current technology, the team initially customized the machine to trace pre-set designs onto the skin using a pen. After testing, they fixed a working tattoo gun and added a sensor that detects the curvature of the skin to make sure the design is applied correctly. Users simply place their arm underneath the gun, calibrate the machine and upload a design much like they would with any other 3D printing project. A block on either side of the arm helps users to keep it straight, although it's up to them to make sure they don't flinch.
Watch the video below to see the machine in action:
Since tattoo art requires years of training and experience, most people couldn't apply their own designs. Tatoue makes that a possibility, and since it prints whatever the computer tells it to, it could even help avoid disasters like this. Are there other ways that 3D printers could be modified to perform tasks outside of prototyping and manufacturing?