Dec 9, 2017 | By Julia

You might know Toshiba best for its product line of home electronics: quality laptops, televisions, and home entertainment systems have made the Japanese manufacturing giant a household name around the world. The company’s most recent venture, then, may come as somewhat of a surprise: Toshiba’s new Open Nail project seeks to provide custom-made false nails perfectly contoured to your nail shape via 3D image recognition and 3D printing technology.

Here’s how it works: using Toshiba’s image recognition software, shapes and contours of each finger nail are read, which are then used to generate data of each user’s set of nails. The data is stored in a cloud system, before reaching a 3D printer, which is used to print the customized false nails. Afterward, these printed false nails are decorated by michi’s nail artists, and sent to the customer.

“What we’re aiming for are perfectly fitted nails,” says Yasuko Chigira of Toshiba’s Technology Planning Office. “To accomplish that, the software has to be able to ‘read’ the image of the nails extremely accurately, down to the tenths of a millimeter. Which is why we need such high-level image recognition and processing technology,” Chigira adds.

Supported under the Toshiba Startup umbrella, the company’s in-house startup program, The Open Nail project was created in partnership with false nails supplier michi co. As is the case with virtually all Toshiba products, the idea is to cater to as wide an audience as possible. For this project, that means men, too.

“Yes, men will want in on this concept as well,” says michi co. CEO Shun Nakazaki. “There’s something about applying a manicure or getting gel nails—something about the act of painting with a little brush—that seems feminine.” Yet given the male market’s typically positive response to electronics and 3D printing, the Open Nail representatives are optimistic that selling false nails to men can be a lucrative business proposition. “If you think about the possibility of ingraining IC chips into them, turning them into IoT devices of sorts, the idea of promoting this item to men does not seem as far-fetched,” notes Nakazaki.

Future applications could include LCD displays on the nail surfaces, or even embedding health-monitoring technology in the product itself. As an Internet of Things (IoT) platform in the long term, the possibilities could be virtually endless. In the short term, however, the Open Nails team is keen to highlight the beauty benefits of a customized fitting nail: “think Cinderella’s glass slippers, but on your fingertips.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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