Robotic Arm Needles World's First Remote Tattoo in Real-Time

Needles, 5G-powered robotic arms, ink — what could possibly go wrong?
Fabienne Lang
The tattoo artist workingT-Mobile Nederland/YouTube

The world's first-ever remotely needled tattoo was done in real-time using a 5G-powered robotic arm. It took a lot of guts, trust, brain power, 5G power, and technology to create the Impossible Tattoo, as it's called, and we're oh-so-grateful for it. 

The project was impressive on a number of technological fronts. T-Mobile in the Netherlands was looking to promote its 5G network's speed, reliability, and low latency, and which robotics fan would say no to making such a project come to life? 

In a short, and inspiring movie on YouTube, T-Mobile demonstrated not only its 5G prowess, but also tattoo artist Wes Thomas' skills, actress Stijn Fransen's trust and guts to receive this one-of-a-kind tattoo, and the Mill's tech team's innovative thinking in creating such a device. 

Real-time remote tattooing

The video shows it all. From the moment the team took on the project, configuring the robotic arm to ensure the needle was penetrating at just the right depth by practicing on vegetables and fake skin, to the moment Thomas takes his tattooist's needle and prods a mannequin arm, which in turn makes a robotic arm tattoo Fransen's forearm remotely and in real-time. 

T-Mobile's 5G network proved its efficiency as there is practically no delay between Thomas inking the mannequin's arm and Fransen, in a different location, receiving her minimalist tattoo from the robotic arm.

An action that requires accuracy to the millimeter has been proven to be possible no matter the distance. 

Most Popular

Thomas was closely involved throughout the entire process so that the engineering and tech team knew precisely what was needed in order for such a task to happen.

Tattooing is risky on a regular day, and if a tattoo artist so much as flinches, a tattoo can be ruined. So imagine the consequences if a robotic arm lost connectivity or malfunctioned. We'd rather not picture the disastrous effects.

The video showcases the impressive task from start to finish, and we've no doubt you'll have to pick your jaw up from the floor once it's done.