No Hand? No Problem. See The World's First Prosthetic Tattoo Machine

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prosthetic tattoo machine

On first glance the device looks like either a medieval torture device or the kind of accessory you would see on a Steampunk aficionado at Comic Con. Both of those guesses are wrong, as you'll see in the video below it is the world's first prosthetic tattoo machine. And it is completely badass.

The device was created by French visual artist Gonzal specifically for tattoo artist JC Sheitan after the two met at a tattoo convention. "When [Sheitan] saw my creations, he imagined he could bring back his right arm and tattoo with it," Gonzal said. "It was a crazy but beautiful idea. I was immediately ok with that, a functional and designed prosthetic. I love a challenge!"

The cool thing about the project is that both artists were able to get something different out of it. For Sheitan, it gave him an opportunity to tattoo in a way that he had not been able to before. For Gonzal it gave him the opportunity to create a unique piece of art that fits into his aesthetic. Throughout his art (which can be seen in the gallery below) Gonzal combines the organic with the mechanical.

"My job is to mechanize skulls, mechanize taxidermied animals..." Gonzal explains. "I globally work about dehumanization, about human folly."


You definitely have to say that he achieved that goal, as you watch the video it looks like Sheitan has a robotic arm. In reality, the machine is actually far more simple than that. Gonzal started with a prothesis that was designed for Sheitan's arm. After being schooled by the tattooer about what he would need in order to make the machine work, Gonazal got to work creating the device. The tattoo machine is mounted on a ball so that it can rotate and the cord runs out of the elbow of the device so that there isn't a cord getting in the way. Many of the bells and whistles of the device, like the very prominent gauge, are actually just there for aesthetic value.

This is only the first prototype of the device, Gonzal plans on putting some more work into it. "[Sheitan] can only control the strength, duty and the pressure," he says. "The wrist mobility may come on the next prototype."

The end result is that Sheitan was able to tattoo in a way that no one in the world ever has before. "[Sheitan] had not used his right/ghost hand since 22 years ago so he needed a time to adapt," Gonzal says. "Then he asked for improvements (laughs)! Moreover, for the moment, the machine is in testing. JC has done some filling, but has yet to do specific lines. According to him, as he had never tattooed with his right arm/hand, so he must relearn all his protocol and ways of working. On the video, the tattoo had been begun with the valid left hand."

The most impressive thing about this device is that not only is Gonzal's work of art splendid to look at, but it is also a tool capable of creating great beauty on its own while being used by Sheitan. We can't wait to see what the next iteration of this amazing device will be capable of.