When we first heard that a group of French design students had found a way to modify a 3D printer and turn it into a tattoo machine we cocked our collective eyebrow in intrigue. After some more consideration we realized that this development brings us one step closer to this:
Fuck these guys.
Actually that's a bit harsh. Fuck this robot.
The French Cultural Ministry had set a challenge to students to come up with a novel way to rework images from the public domain. Pierre Emm, Piotr Widelka, and Johan de Silveira attempted to take a 3D printer and outfit it with a tattoo machine; making it the world’s first robot tattoo artist. The original contest was limited to 8 hours and the students were unable to successfully complete their task but they continued to work on it until it was perfected, according to the Daily Mail.
In an effort to prove that their machine was superior to any human tattoo artist the students attempted to tattoo a perfect circle with the device. Circles are one of the more difficult shapes for a tattoo artist to learn since they require an insane amount of precision. In the end the machine was able to mark one of the students with a perfect circle as long as someone was holding the person skin very taut.
Let’s be clear, the students did a hell of a job and it’s a pretty impressive machine. The thing is that by replacing the artist with a tattooing version of the HAL 9000 you are bastardizing everything that we love about tattoos. The artistry and skill that comes directly from the tattoo artist is what makes tattooing such a unique form of personal expression. Sure, it might be damn near impossible for a human to tattoo a perfect circle but I don’t see a robot being able to do this anytime soon either. The little imperfections found in tattoos is what gives them heart and there is never going to be a machine capable of replicating that.
If the future that these students imagine involves a whole bunch of machines branding people with perfect circles, bar codes, and other generic tattoos it’s a future that we don’t want any part of. Fuck this robot tattoo artist and fuck the people that brought him into this world.