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Beauty-bot for the 'perfect' makeup application

A pair of Vienna-based designers have created a robotic makeup application device -- to highlight how the perfection of automated systems can be ill-suited to the uniqueness of humans.

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Pindeus & Pichlbauer

You wake up in the morning. You're bleary eyed as you remove the lid of your eyeliner pencil, blinking as the tip hovers towards your iris. If only, you think, this part of your early-morning routine could be automated.

Well, maybe that wouldn't be such a great idea after all -- as demonstrated by a machine created by University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria design students Maya Pindeus and Johanna Pichlbauer for the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015, in Saint-Etienne, France.

Called Beautification, the machine is designed to apply makeup to a human face -- and it's really not very good at it, at least according to human standards. This, however, is absolutely by design.

"Computers and machines in general are damned to miss out on the beauty that is in a human face, in its irregularities, its uniqueness. They are programmed to work with the normative and the flawless," the pair wrote on the project's website.

"[In Beautification] They are given the responsibility of carrying out intimate cosmetic tasks in our faces. In a magical beautification ritual they analyse, sparkle, buzz, slide over our skin and beautify us, following their own secret ideals..."

The system consists of a pair of robotic arms, one holding a brush that dips into a pot of black makeup, which is then smeared on the user's face in streaks; and a lipstick on a motorised wheel, which describes a perfect circle around the user's mouth.

Finally, a mask fitted with fibre-optic lights is designed to "complete" the makeup ritual -- by putting the user's face into a mould that they do not fit -- raising questions of a one-size-fits-all approach to beauty, and society's homogeneous beauty standards.

It looks a lot more gentle on the face than Homer Simpson's makeup gun, too.

Via DesignBoom