CES gets pretty with this fingernail-painting machine (video)

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LAS VEGAS—With the astounding number of products and devices being shown at CES, there are always a few that are weird enough to give you pause (this year’s best example being the Mondo Spider), and a few things that you simply wouldn’t expect to see.

One of the things that we never expected was the a booth where folks were eagerly crowding around kisoks, awaiting their turn to stick their fingers into what looked like a futuristic washing machine—but was actually an inkjet printer for painting fingernails.

Officially called a “nail imaging system,” the printer from Tat’z Nail’z comes pre-loaded with over 30,000 images that you can print onto your finger- and toenails. The camera on the front of the printer allows you to take photos of images you’d like to sdecorate your nails with, and it has a USB port on the back so you can upload your own images.

Printing an image onto a nail takes about seven seconds, and the nail comes out of the printing slot entirely dry, so there’s no risk of smudging and you don't need to sit around and wait for the polish to dry. You’ll still have to apply a base coat (so the ink will adhere) and finish it off with a top coat, but the printer significantly cuts down on the time it takes to put polish on.

Each Tat’z Nail’z printer comes with an ink cartridge capable of printing 10,000 nails (or 1,000 customers) and can be leased for parties or events. The Tat’z Nail’z system can print pictures of your pets or kids onto your nails, logos for your favorite sports teams, as well as all manner of designs or patterns.

I tested it out by letting the camera scan the TechHive logo off a microphone, and the process really is easy: Scan the image, then stick your finger into the slot and push down. Release to (gently) lock the finger in place. Then, use the touchscreen to size the area where you’d like the image to be placed and hit the “okay” button. The Tat’z Nail’z printer will go to work then release your finger. Pull out your finger and apply a top coat, and you’re done.

The image or pattern will last for a solid amount of time—a week or two, depending on how rough you are with your hands‚and the result looks just as good as any traditional manicure. The printers are fairly expensive—about $10,000—but Tat’z Nail’z was offering them at half price for CES.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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