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Robots should not apply makeup; here’s why

Will the morning beauty routine of the future involve robots applying makeup? Probably not judging from the results of an experiment at a French exhibition. Austrian designers and University of Vienna students Maya Pindeus, 24, and Johanna Pichibauer, 25, showcased their makeup-applying robot at the Biennale International Design Saint-Etienne 2015.

The machine, part of the designers’ art project “Beautification,” uses a long black brush attached to its robotic arm to apply eyeliner and a rotating attachment to create a red lip. Its LED mask lights up in the corresponding part of the face when it’s completed.

Completed, perhaps, but whether to the user’s satisfaction is another matter as it seems precision is not the machine’s top priority.

Its eyeliner skills in particular leave a little to be desired, in one case poking the brush straight into the user’s eye…

Robot applying makeup for Beautification

Photo credit: Beautification/tumblr

Robot applying makeup Beautification

Photo credit: Beautification/tumblr

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The lipstick component was a little more successful, as the user can control how much product is applied.

Robot applying makeup Beautification

Photo credit: Beautification/tumblr

On their tumblr page Pindeus and Pichibauer reveal what inspired their project: “Without us paying much attention, many processes and rituals in our lives have been taken over by machines which are said to be cold and unemotional… Our machines, however, have their own will, their own ideals. We want to put users in the beauty care of robots, to experience what it feels like when delicate decisions that are usually made by themselves are now determined by machines.”

The designers also explained that the robots weren’t intended to revolutionise makeup: “Our installation aims at sparking the conversation about the nature of beauty and the emotional potential of human/machine-relationships.”

They discovered that the results of their project were different from what they initially expected: “We expected the outcome to be threatening and a little creepy but instead we discovered a very affectionate side in our robot. The interaction with our machine made people smile. Its tireless spins, the way it didn’t quite succeed, it seemed to have its own ideas of what looked good in a human face.”

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