If there’s one thing you can say about Porsche, it’s that they have an almost preternatural ability to sense what drivers really, really want from their cars. Porsche’s new announcement about their newly-developed direct printing tech really reinforces this idea: finally, after years of unrequited desire, Porsche will allow buyers to print a giant version of their fingerprint on their hoods. Finally, right?
Painful, obvious sarcasm aside, the printing tech is quite impressive. Porsche isn’t using decals or wraps for this effect, but rather a computer-controlled paint deposition machine that can print complex graphics in paint directly onto body panels.
Porsche describes it as a sort of highly advanced inkjet printer:
Direct printing makes it possible to produce designs that are not possible with conventional painting. In terms of look and feel, the new technology is clearly superior to film application. The operating principle is similar to that of an inkjet printer: using a print head, the paint is applied to three-dimensional components automatically and without overspray. “The ability to control the nozzles individually permits targeted application of every paint droplet,” explains Christian Will, Vice President Production Development at Porsche AG. “The complexity is due to the necessity of harmonising three technologies: robot technology (control, sensors, programming), application technology (print head, graphic handling) and paint technology (application process, paint).”
They’re rolling the technology out initially only by allowing owners to pay about $US8,000 ($12,099) to have their own fingerprints printed on their new 911 hoods. Porsche’s reasoning is that “no design can be more personal than your own fingerprint,” and while that’s not exactly wrong, every one of these incredibly individualised hoods will look effectively the exact same unless you’re willing to get two side-by-side and scrutinise them with a magnifying glass.
Also, aren’t there security issues with showing your enlarged fingerprint to everyone you pass? I feel like that may not be ideal, considering all the TouchID and similar technology people use.
Plus, this thing is very likely just taking a digital image and “printing” it on the hood; why can’t Porsche just give some parameters and let people upload their own, entirely personalised designs? They can screen out all the dicks or whatever, if they wanted, and people would be able to have hood designs that mean a hell of a lot more to them than their fingerprint.
It’s cool tech, and the fingerprint thing is fine for someone, I’m sure, but the idea of making it the sole option for something like this is a genuinely puzzling decision. I feel like many Porsche owners I’ve met spend most of their time removing fingerprints from every part of their cars, sometimes obsessively. I feel like one this big and dark would give them a stroke.