Robot Tattooing: The Future of Ink?

robot tattooing

Image from PixelVulture

Recently, we got a glimpse of the future from Samsung. The tech giant unveiled a commercial that features things like smartphones you could fold and smart mirrors to make your morning better.

Our favorite detail, though, was the robot tattoo artist. We see a woman design her own tattoo and then the tattoo robot brings the ink to life!

Many who saw the commercial had a simple question: will robotic tattooing be the future of ink? If you want the answer, keep reading to discover our comprehensive guide!

A Painful Past

laser tattoo scar

Image from Instructables

When it comes to technology, we have to crawl before we can walk. And Samsung’s vision of an automated tattoo future actually has a painful past.

Previously, we’ve written about experiments with laser tattoos. This is what happened when a few rugged individuals loaded designs into a laser cutter and then had the tattoo seared into their flesh.

There are many downsides to this: it’s painful, skin damaging, and the “tattoo” might not even last. As these tattoo pioneers proved, machine-based tattoos would need to use ink instead of lasers.

Hold It Right There

robot hand

Image from BGR

Ever wonder why we don’t already have robot tattooing? It mostly comes down to the hands.

Human hands have the flexibility and dexterity to hold various tools and make small, precise movements. Compared to human hands, most machine hands look like the grabbing claw from those arcade machines that stole all your quarters.

However, this may be changing thanks to “soft” technology. Scientists have created robotic hands that feel like real flesh and have enough fine control to use and hold various tools.

Festo, the company leading this innovation, is also working on robotic arms powered by the same technology. Putting the arms and hands together helps move us one step closer to Samsung’s vision of the future.

Putting It All Together

tattoo AI app

Image from TheNextWeb

Of course, having the arms and hands in place is only one part of the puzzle. To truly have robot tattooing, we would need a power Artificial Intelligence powering it all.

Such a development may be closer than you think. Recently, two programmers (Dennis Mickey Jensen and Goran Vuksic)  created a very special AI that focused on tattoos. Its goal was simple: it could analyze and understand tattoos in order to categorize them and even make recommendations to users.

Think of this as “step one” for the kind of AI Samsung imagined. But this gives us hope that the future they envisioned is closer than we first thought!

Going Beyond Ink

electronic tattoo

Image from Futurism

We’re pretty sure that Samsung’s future forecast is right around the corner. While we’re excited about that, we’re equally excited for what will come afterward.

Michael McAlpine, a mechanical engineering professor, has made some future forecasting of his very own. Specifically, he believes we will be using 3D printers to create things like electronic tattoos for our bodies.

It sounds like a cyberpunk novel, but McAlpine believes we’ll all be able to become hybrids of man, machine, and ink within a few years. To be honest, we’re pretty stoked about the idea!

Robot Tattooing: Final Thoughts

Now you know more about the future of tattooing. But do you know how to keep track of the here and now?

At Tattooing 101, we have all the inky news you can use each and every week. Be sure to bookmark our page so you can stay up to date!

Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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