Science & Technology
Scientists create living skin to use on robots
By T.K. Randall
June 14, 2022 · 5 comments
Is this the first step towards robot cyborgs ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 D. Sharon Pruitt
The self-healing, living skin - which is based on human cells - has been demonstrated on a robotic finger.
In an experiment that sounds eerily reminiscent of something out of The Terminator
franchise, researchers at the University of Tokyo used human skin cells to produce a genuine skin-like coating for eventual use on human-like robots.
Most of the skin substitutes used in robotics - such as rubber or silicone - are prone to damage and are easy to spot; there is no doubt that what you are looking at is a machine.
Human skin, however, is vastly superior - offering a natural appearance while also being waterproof and capable of healing itself if it is damaged.
In the movies, these very same traits prompted Skynet to use specially grown skin for its T-800 Terminator machines so that they could pass for human.
Similar advantages were gained by the Japanese team when they applied the 'living skin' to their robotic finger - enabling it to move naturally while appearing a lot more life-like.
"Our creation is not only soft like real skin but can repair itself if cut or damaged in some way," said study leader Shoji Takeuchi. "So we imagine it could be useful in industries where in situ repairability is important as are human-like qualities, such as dexterity and a light touch."
In the future, robots with living skin could appear almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
Source: Singularity Hub
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