Appropriate Audiences in Paris, by combining a 3D printer with a tattooist’s needle, has created an automated tattoo “printer” that can create indelible artworks on skin.
Tatoué is a fusion between a Makerbot 3D printer and a tattooist’s needle. It is a small handheld machine, and it inserts ink into a person’s skin using a sharp point, puncturing the skin up to 150 times per second.
Specially adapted software has been produced by Autodesk, which turns tattoo designs into digital files that can be downloaded to the machine. The user then inserts a limb into the printer and the needle draws the design into their skin.
The part of the printer that would usually extrude melted plastic to make objects is replaced by a needle which has been adapted using bespoke 3D-printed parts. A sensor reads the surface of the skin, so that the needle can respond to changes in skin texture and the dimensions of the limb.