Acknowledged for its product range of home electronics, Toshiba is now involving in a 3D printing project. Called “Open Nail” project, it aims at providing tailor-made false nails perfectly contoured to the nail shape of the user via 3D image recognition and 3D printing technology.

Simply put, Toshiba Startup division supports the Open Nail project, which is in fact an in-house startup program created in collaboration with false nails supplier michi co.

The goal here is to draw the attention of a wider audience, including men for this project.

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.”

Both partners think that, since men positively respond to electronics and 3D printing, there might be a chance they find this project interesting.  From a business point of view, the CEO adds: “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.”

How does it work?

Thanks to the Japanese company’s image recognition software, shapes and contours of each finger nail are read. They generate data of each customer’s set of nails. Saved in a cloud system, the data are thereafter sent to a 3D printer which will print the customized false nails.

Michi’s nail artists will after that decorate the printed false nails before they will be sent to the final user.

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.

If for now, the team only looks at the beauty benefits of a false nail, in the future, it would be possible to see LCD displays on the nail surfaces.

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