Hydrographic painting, sometimes called immersion printing or immersion painting, has actually been around since the first machine was created in 1982. It is a method of applying designs to three-dimensional objects as they are immersed in water. The application of this patterned film layer has never been precise. That is, it has never been precise until now.
A team made up of researchers from both New York City's Columbia University and Hangzhou, China's Zhejiang University decided to find a solution, which they have called computational hydrographic printing. Essentially, they do a three-dimensional scan of the object that they want to paint, then algorithms take the pattern that will be painted and print the pattern on to a layer of transparent film. When the object is then lowered into the water via computerized arm, the pattern is applied precisely. This can even be done by dunking the object multiple times to create and apply three-dimensional paint patterns to make the object appear painted by hand.
This is still in early development so it is unknown when this type of painting will be rolled out to be used by corporations, but research phase or not, it is still amazing to watch.
Via: Fast CoDesign