Automation can be a beautiful thing. There's something thrilling to see a machine—a pile of wires and parts—accomplish a task that normally can only be done by a human being. Watching something that was once only possible in science fiction become science fact is an astounding feeling.
Of course, as the resident science fiction aficionado here at Inked, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that most of the time the machines take over everything goes to hell. So I'm a little distrustful of robots... especially if that robot is about to stick a needle into my arm.
So when I saw that T-Mobile Netherlands had created a device that would allow a robot to follow the instructions of a tattoo artist through 5G, I was a little nervous for everyone involved. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
But, as it turns out, it was much ado about nothing. As you can see in the video below, through a lot of trial and error, the team was able to figure things out. Technologist Noel Drew teamed up with tattoo artist Wes Thomas to accomplish the task they are calling "The Impossible Tattoo."
There were so many challenges to overcome before the tattoo could be come a reality. For starters, Drew needed to observe the way Thomas tattoos and the mechanics of his body in order to design the robotic arm. Then, and this is probably the most important, they needed to perfect the amount of pressure the robotic arm would place on the client. The needles have to go underneath the skin to bury the ink, but they can't go too far. And not to be dramatic here, but a robot can't hear you scream.
Thomas was in the other room doing the tattoo onto a synthetic arm while the client, Stijn, sat in a separate room with the robotic arm. All of Thomas' motions were captured and relayed to the machine using 5G, and then the machine did the tattoo. In the end, it comes out pretty amazingly.
Check it out. The question is, would you be as brave as Stijn is and get a tattoo from a robot?