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Lindsey Naples

Target Now Offers Robotic Manicures?

As if I needed any other reason to go there…

Sep 9, 2022 12:22:28 PM


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Target: the epicenter of my money-spending. It is a magical land where you go in for deodorant, black out, and return home with curtains, diapers, and lord knows what else (but not the deodorant…so you have a reason to go back). Just when you thought the store had relatively everything, along comes…a robotic manicure? Evidently, yes!


I was scrolling through TikTok and I stumbled across a video of a person’s hand inside of a machine. I wasn’t sure what universe I was in for a second. This person's fingernails were being robotically painted, and they were inside of a Target. That seemed bizarre. So I Googled it; low-and-behold, Allure, Glamour, and other news outlets all had an article on it! Allure, funny enough, had it sectioned under “weird science.” It’s definitely not a headline I ever expected to read.


The Company Behind the Novelty
The wonderous machine (aptly named “minicure”) comes from Clockwork, a company that prides themselves on existing “to free people through smart automation—changing the way they work, how they spend their time, and where they find peace of mind.”


That’s a tall order to fill but, according to the company, the “average woman spends 3,120 minutes a year on her nails” and this “pandemic-friendly” (i.e., contactless with other humans) manicure only takes about ten minutes. So, I guess that’s liberating? Certainly saves you the hassle of dealing with painting your dominant hand. And for $8-$10 USD, a solid color manicure isn’t a bad deal!


The machine, according to a CNN Business article, uses cameras, data, and algorithms to paint the customer’s nails. After placing your finger into the machine, two cameras take around 100 photos of your nail, which are used to approximate where the edges of the fingernail are.


Renuka Apte, founder and CEO of Clockwork, said that the machine uses those images to create “a 3-D point cloud showing the shape of the nail…this information is then used by algorithms that figure out things such as how (and how fast) the machine's polish-dispensing pipette should move to apply paint to your nail.”


Source: Clockwork


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
The machines are currently only located in six Targets nation-wide (three in Texas, two in California, and one in Minnesota), and are not foolproof. The pipette can clog, movement after the photos can cause the machine to paint beyond the nail edges, and (as of right now) it is only a single coat of color with no topcoat or base coat. There is a human being there to attend to the machine if it malfunctions or if you need assistance but, for ten dollars and the novelty of saying you had a robot paint your nails in the middle of Target, I assume that’s a fair trade.


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