See what a tattoo will look like on your skin before you get inked with this AR app


Posts: 6,672   +59
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Like a lot of people, I’ve got a couple of tattoos which didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, and that’s putting it generously. But a new app could save folks from seeking out cover-ups or painful laser surgery by showing them what a design will look like after it’s complete.

InkHunter uses augmented reality to overlay a tattoo onto a body’s surface area. You can select from a series of designs by different artists that are included in the app, or you can upload your own sketches to see how they’ll look on your skin.

The process works by asking the user to draw three straight lines to form a face (called a square smile) on the part of their body where they’re considering getting a tattoo. When viewed through a smartphone’s screen, these three marks will appear as the selected tattoo, and can be viewed from all angles. You can also take photos of the AR tattoo and show friends to get their opinions.

"Under the hood we developed three algorithms to make it possible," explained InkHunter CEO Oleksandra Rohachova to the Daily Dot. These create a transparent image from the black and white one, recognize the smile on the skin, and overlay the tattoo in the mark’s location.

The app is the product of a 48-hour hackathon that took place in July 2014. Originally built by a team of software engineers from Karazina University in Ukraine, a beta version of the fully-fledged app launched last year, but this new release improves the algorithms and overall user experience.

The free app is only available for iOS right now, but the company is working on bringing it to Android and Windows Phones. It’s being improved all the time to take into account factors such as lighting and veins. Future updates will also support color tattoos and add designs from more artists.

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Posts: 8,645   +3,289
Jeez. Tattoo's are the very last thing I'd ever get, I don't want to walk around looking like I've got melanoma.

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
I am reminded of the old Popeye cartoon where the guy gets a battleship across his chest at 18, but when he's 65 it looks more like a broken down row boat ...... kind of like the gal that gets the ultimate boob job and wondering what she's going to look like at 65 ..... shutter!!!!!!

Raoul Duke

Add me to the list of folks who don't get the tattoo craze, especially when people get the one's with Asian characters in them, when in some of those countries, tattoo's are taboo, in Japan, in their awesome Onsen's (hot pools, the Island is littered with them due to volcanic activity) they are banned. Tattoo? No onsen for you.


Posts: 38   +32
Glad to see they are working on an android version. So many of these cool apps are written for IOS and either never make it to android or when they do, its long forgotten about. Would be fun to see what I would look like with some ink.

And to the other commenters, why not comment on the app instead of your stance on tattoos? No one really cares if you think they are dumb ( Oh no! Not Japanese saunas! How will I survive in the Southern U.S.). Last I checked this was a Tech site, so maybe comment on the technology? Hell, download it and see what you would look like with a barbed wire thing on your arm. Or a 47 style barcode on the back of your head.

Raoul Duke

Well, I guess the big stretch is if I don't get the tattoo thing, I have zero interest in the technology which means I won't be buying it. And the Japan reference shows that much of the rest of the world is not into the tattoo thing either, which will limit the market of said technology. The Asian market is quite big and this app isn't going to make it there. I also think that many North American's may be surprised that if they travel and go to swimming pools/sauna's etc., that they may be banned due to said tattoo's. That related enuff for you?
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