A robotic tattoo artist

tattoo

Here’s something we thought we’d never see: a robot that turns a computer drawing into a tattoo on the user’s arm.

The basic design of the robot is a frame that moves linearly along two axes, and rotates around a third. The tattoo design is imported into a 3D modeling program, and with the help of a few motors and microcontrollers a tattoo can be robotically inked on an arm.

Since the arm isn’t a regular surface, [Luke] needed a way to calibrate his forearm-drawing robot to the weird curves and bends of his ar.  The solution to this problem is a simple calibration process where the mechanism scans along the length of [Luke]’s arm, while the ‘depth’ servo is manually adjusted. This data is imported into Rhino 3D and the robot takes the curve of the arm into account when inking the new tat.

Right now [Luke] is only inking his skin with a marker, but as far as automated tattoo machines go, it’s the best – and only – one we’ve ever seen.

Southwest Tour: Scrap Tattoo Gun

I had an idea for keeping things interesting on this long road trip through the southwest. I was going to gather a few bits from each hackerspace and build something using minimal tools while we were driving down the road.  I settled on the idea of a really simple “jailhouse” tattoo gun. I knew I could build one from parts I could source very easily and that I wouldn’t need much in terms of tools to make it happen.

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Barcode tattoo has a lot of thought put into it

This bar code tattoo was sent into us by [Lifespan]. Before going under the needle, [Lifespan] didn’t care much for tattoos. After seeing this video he realized that a tattoo could have dynamic content through domain redirection.

[Lifespan] spent a lot of time going over the different styles of 2D bar codes. QR codes were deemed ugly because of the three large squares in the corners. An EZ Code, like the one in his YouTube inspiration, are a proprietary format that must be read with a ScanLife app. He eventually settled on a Data Matrix bar code because of its open format and ubiquity in business and industry. To make the tattoo dynamic, [Lifespan] made the tattoo point to 5id5.com. With a little bit of smart phone wizardry, that domain can be redirected to any URL in a moments notice.

Like all well-planned tattoos, he found himself a very good artist to do the piece. [Connor Moore] managed to ink some skin at 15 dpi, which was a little risky, but the results came out great. While it’s not scarification via a laser cutter, barring fading this tattoo is technologically future proof.

Prison tattoo machine made from PlayStation

Prison inmates have a history of being gruesomely resourceful hackers. The toothbrush shiv comes immediately to mind. One such inmate in the UK wanted to offer tattoos to his fellow convicts so he came up with a tattoo gun using a PlayStation for parts. The crude setup involves a sharpened ballpoint pen and the use one of the motors from the optical drive to move it up and down. The inmate didn’t document his work for us but there are other examples of this method available. Even with modern hardware, ink seems a little 20th century when compared to laser tats.

[Thanks Memmy T]

Hackaday links: March 28, 2010

Cardboard record player

[Yen] tipped us off about this cardboard record player. It’s a marketing tool that you receive in the mail. Inside the cardboard packaging is a record and the packaging itself can be folded into a player.

Hackable handheld

The NanoNote is a tiny handheld housing a lot of power for a small price. It ships running openWRT and sports a full keyboard, 336MHz processor, 32 MB ram, and 2 GB of flash memory. Not bad for $99. [Thanks Drone via Linux Devices]

Virtual page flipping physical interface

Love reading ebooks but miss flipping through the pages? [Marcin Szewczyk] developed this interface that lets you flip a couple of sheets of plastic to turn and fan through pages on the screen.

Augmented reality tat

Not interested in supporting an ink artist or just can’t decide on the design? Perhaps you should get an augmented reality marker tattooed on your arm and have the art digitally added for those who have already made the switch away from using their analog-only eyes. [Thanks DETN8R via Asylum]

Cooking with a CPU

[Bo3bo3] is practicing the art of cooking with processors but he’s bumped things up a notch. Instead of cooking inside a computer case, he removed the processor from the board and made it USB powered. [Thanks Waseem]

Laser tattoo


We’re amazed we didn’t stumble across this ill advised burnination sooner. Earlier in the week [tetranitrate], of LED chess set fame, posted his experiences using a laser cutter to scarify his own skin. It’s very painful, not to mention the discomfort of smelling your own burning flesh. He’s using an Epilog with a magnet over the safety switch. To get the positioning right, a layer of painters tape was put down and then etched. For a less painful version, you could try Bre’s fingernail calendar from last Fall. Video of multiple tattoos embedded after the break.

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Back from Belize extra


Yesterday, I was standing on a tropical island off the coast of Belize. Vacation rocked with lots of SCUBA diving, spearfishing and snorkeling. I’m back home, shaking off the jet lag and clearing up my inbox. Thanks to [fabienne] for filling in and letting me unplug for a while!

[Darkrom] has set a new standard for Hack-A-Day readers… I haven’t seen it in person, but that looks like a legit Hack-A-Day tattoo.

[null] sent in a new use for a frequency generator, a spare car amp, a sub-woofer and a plastic coffee can – brass cartridge polishing.

[LoopyMind] sent in this Game Boy Advanced Movie Player IDE hack. It’s pretty much a direct CF to laptop drive cable with an external battery supply.

[Dingolishious] sent in a POE UPS/remote power control solution. Could be handy if you’re using many POE devices, or if you’re having power issues. He added an inexpensive remote power monitor/switch solution behind his UPS. It senses power outages and kicks out an email – and allows remote power cycling of his POE devices. Of course, if you’ve got a linux box behind the UPS, it can monitor the output from the UPS and send notifications.

[William] added a preamp stage to his iKEY usb recorder. looks like an interesting toy – it’ll record audio directly to a USB flash key. The pre-amp allows him to record in more challenging environments.

[Andrew] noted a simple mod to increase the deadly fire power of the ubiquitous airsoft pellet gun. It’s just a matter of reducing some extra space in the spring compression area.

Last but not least, [VIPER] modded his projector to use a 12v halogen headlight bulb. Not a bad idea – at one point I was pondering a 550 watt source four halogen as a possible replacement.