Body art and tattooing has seen an explosion in popularity in recent years.

The proliferation of tattoo artists across Ireland and, indeed, the world has meant that it's become increasingly common and accepted to not only have tattoos, but to display them proudly. The work that goes into creating tattoos by artists really is something, but there's now been an advancement in the field that's unlike any other.

A pair of French engineers, Pierre Emm and Johan da Silveira, have created a world-first - a robotic arm that is able to draw and ink tattoos on human skin. The Tatoué works by first scanning the designated part of the body using a 3D scanner.

That scan is then fed into the computer and into a language that the robotic arm is then able to understand and sculpt. At this stage, you're probably thinking that the idea of a gigantic robotic arm coming at your leg with a needle is a recipe for disaster.

Yet, the company who've built the robotic arm - Autodesk - worked with a number of health and safety groups, automation safety experts and so on and, yes, got the whole thing to work.

The design of the tattoos tested so far have been incredibly intricate, perhaps even more than what's possible by even the most skilled tattoo artist. As it stands, there's no commercial applications for the robot arm as it's all done in an academic setting, but it's interesting to see how the process can be used in other aspects.

Here's a video on the whole thing, if you fancy it.