Painting over the cracks

Written by: Eureka! | Published:

In the age of social media, image has become everything. But the sad fact of the matter is that you’re never going to look like a model or a superstar actor in your day to day life. This is mainly because it’s unlikely you can afford for a make-up team, professional lighters and slow-motion camera equipment and crew to follow you around everywhere.

While Snapchat’s image filters, for example, can soften and smooth out your face better than smearing Vaseline on the lens of film cameras in the Golden Age of Hollywood softened the features of screen sirens like Rita Hayworth – or anyone else mentioned in Madonna’s song ‘Vogue’ – you’re only digitally touching up your appearance.

But what if there was a way to recreate that perfect ‘Insta’ filter look in real life by using technology to remove blemishes from your face or hands? This is your challenge this month.

The challenge

Using existing technologies, we want you to design a device that can detect the colour and pigmentation of your skin, spot blemishes like age spots, broken veins and freckles and cover them up, even if only temporarily.

The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the September issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit your ideas by leaving a comment on the Coffee Time Challenge section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the editor: paul.fanning@markallengroup.com


The solution

The solution to last month’s Coffee Time Challenge, which was to come up with a device that removes or covers up skin blemishes like a real-life Instagram filter, is the Opté Precision Skincare System from consumer good giant, Procter and Gamble.

The handheld device, which is basically a tiny inkjet printer, uses sensors to detect the colour and the pigmentation of your skin, spots blemishes and precisely applies tiny droplets of makeup that are the exact colour of the surrounding skin.

It takes 200 pictures of your skin per second and 120 nozzles deposit one billionth of a litre of makeup onto each skin spot it detects.

According to Lauren Thaman, communications leader, P&G Ventures, the device will work on all skin tones with light, medium or dark cartridges available. She adds that the make-up is anti-ageing so blemishes like age spots will disappear over time and it won’t perspire off because so little skin is being covered.



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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course, innovative.

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