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Transhuman Tattoo Artist


For years science fiction has entertained the idea of transcending human limitations by merging with technology. The term transhumanism was coined in 1940 by the Canadian philosopher W. D. Lighthall who described it this way:

“Up till now human life has generally been, as Hobbes described it, ‘nasty, brutish and short’; the great majority of human beings (if they have not already died young) have been afflicted with misery… we can justifiably hold the belief that these lands of possibility exist, and that the present limitations and miserable frustrations of our existence could be in large measure surmounted… The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself — not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity.”

Those terms are quite lofty to be sure but then again, so often are the goals of science. But the idea that science can overcome our “miserable frustrations” is one of the driving forces behind innovation. In a previous article I talked about a new method of customizing and 3D printing prosthetics in a way that allowed them to be not only affordable but personalized. This revolutionary new process paves the way for general use prosthetics to be mass produced for pennies on the dollar compared to older more traditional methods. But general use always good enough when you’re interested in doing more precise and complicated work.

JC Sheitan Tenet lost his right arm 22 years ago at the age of 10. Today he’s an up and coming tattoo artist thanks to the brilliant work of engineer and artist JL Gonzal. Gonzal constructed a specialized prosthetic based on the designs of a tattoo machine. The result is one of the coolest functional steampunk looking prosthetic arms ever built. Tenet may just be one link in the unending chain of technological process, but he’s certainly a cool one.

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The arm was actually a traditional prosthetic model that underwent a great deal of augmentation.

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Gonzal hopes to improve the model in the future to allow for more nuanced wrist control.

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Tenet wouldn’t let something as small as amputation stymie his creative impulse.

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And the work speaks for itself.

Man and machine, merging to create something greater than the sum of their parts. The future is certainly going to be an interesting place.

To see how he does it, check out the video below.

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