Regardless of how experienced you are at eating blackness, knowing the finished product will always be with you throughout your life with this beautiful nerve working. With that in mind, would you be brave enough to let a robot carry ink instead of a human? A world-first, Dutch actor Stijn Frances has received a tattoo of a robotic arm controlled by an artist who was too far away.
This feat combined with network provider T-Mobile Netherlands as a demonstration of its new 5G network, which used to control the system. While you may think Frances is braver than most, robots have been trusted with important things like surgery for years. Robotic weapons controlled by on-site surgeons used in extremely complex surgical treatments, and last year a surgeon made history by performing a procedure remotely in a cadre from the comfort of his own home. So, if surgeons can do it, why cannot artists tattooed?
This is the attitude of artist Wes Thomas and London-based robotics technician Noel Drew, who worked together to make dreams come true. Using 3D printing and all the extra time as a result of the lockdown, Drew spent six weeks building a robotic arm with a cut in needle that was capable of controlled fine movement over 5G.
Documented in a series titled ‘The Impossible Tattoo’, Thomas performed the first remote tattoo on France. Throughout the period, the robotic arm tested on different hands (including vegetables) for different mediums (even vegetables) to see if it was ready for any human arm. The needle was equipped with a sensor that prevented it from penetrating too deep into the skin, avoiding a bad accident.
“Each day was a small step (sometimes backwards) and when we weren’t developing we were experimenting and then more experimental and then more experimental. Many of the butternut squash in the test cycle damaged before it was refined and ready for reality, “Drew told PC Magazine.
After practicing on a knee for the cameras, the rig was supposed to be ready to go. Taking his place on a roof decorated with stylus that tracks his movements, Thomas begins to ‘ink’ a twisted arm, feeding his movements directly to the robotic arm that begins to tattoo on the Frenchman. The result was a minimalist, small tattoo on Frances’s arm. Despite its small size, the tattoo presents a huge leap into remote robotics.
Robotic weapons allow humans much more accuracy than deadly power, as long as the calibration is stable. Improvements will certainly needed before the introduction of such technologies in the mainstream market, but as more hospitals and workplaces embrace robotics, they may not become very well known even in tattoo parlors.