3D Captured Tattoos

By on March 27th, 2013 in Hardware

Tags: , ,

We’re looking at an unusual 3D scanning project on Kickstarter: the “3d tattoo body art scanner” by UK artist Lee Wagstaff. Wagstaff is notable as he was the first person to use his own body art as presentation material during his Master’s degree defense. 
Having such an incredible array of intricate tattoos poses a problem: how to archive this artwork? Tattoos may need to be reproduced on others, or – and this is why we’re interested – 3D printed on figurines to display the tattoo without the associated body. 
Essentially this is a 3D color and texture capture problem, but it is complicated by the need to scan actual humans. We’ve encountered that problem – humans tend to muck up the scan by moving ever so slightly while they are being scanned; only dead people can remain sufficiently motionless. Tiny tattoo details would be catastrophically ruined with such movements, while low-res human shapes can tolerate a bit of movement. 
Wagstaff has created a small Kickstarter project to fund the development of a rudimentary (and therefore inexpensive) device to capture tattoos and 3D shapes. Perhaps this could be done by enhancing existing scanning solutions, but any Kinect-based solution simply wouldn’t have the resolution to do what Wagstaff proposes. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!