Image: StudioCanal

The fear of real-life Terminators and “cybernetic organisms” creeps a little closer with a new report from the University of Tokyo that reveals its roboticists have successfully built an articulated robot finger covered in living human skin. Thoroughly detailed in a recently published paper titled “Living Skin on a Robot” in the scientific journal Matter, human skin cells were used to create the lab-grown skin, a substance that manages to mimic its authentic counterpart rather closely with features that include water resistance and the ability to self heal. The artificial skin is also seemingly strong enough to handle a robotic finger’s repeated movements, such as stretching and contracting. Researchers are now hoping to add “nerves” and sensors to make them even closer to humans.

“I think living skin is the ultimate solution to give robots the look and touch of living creatures since it is exactly the same material that covers animal bodies,” said Shoji Takeuchi, University of Tokyo tissue engineer.

Remarkably, the artificial skin can also be healed with a collagen bandage, which the living cells take and integrate into their system to help fill in the damage.

While the results are quite amazing, the lab-grown tissue is still very limited. It cannot last long outside its nutrient solution – just like our skin, it requires a consistent supply of water to avoid drying out, but the artificial skin layers lack the complicated components of circulatory and sweat gland systems to supply such hydration.

Source: Matter (via ScienceAlert)

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19 comments

  1. Is it actual human skin, or just a living tissue that resembles human skin?

    Reason I ask is, sure, covering robots in it may be cool and all, but what about potential applications in burn wards, and other skin grafting needs?
  2. The fear of real-life Terminators and "cybernetic organisms" creeps a little closer with a new report from the University of Tokyo that reveals its roboticists have successfully built an articulated robot finger covered in living human skin.

    Go to post
    You aren't supposed to watch a film like the Terminator and say to yourself: "Hey, that's a good idea. What could go wrong?"
  3. Would it, I wonder, last long enough for a burn victim to start growing their own skin under it? That could be a better use for it then for robo sex toys with realistic skin.
  4. Would it, I wonder, last long enough for a burn victim to start growing their own skin under it? That could be a better use for it then for robo sex toys with realistic skin.
    Now hang on a minute......sex bots could really improve our quality of life.
  5. "Hey, that's a good idea. What could go wrong?"
    I swear that as I think about the scope and history of human survival it seems like the more that elements of natural selection, and threats, are removed from the equation the more people there are who have such "good ideas". Too much time on their hands.
  6. Just saying if they can give an healthier outlet than someone forcing themselves on another person... then go for it.
    Probably cheaper than a real date too
  7. Just saying if they can give an healthier outlet than someone forcing themselves on another person... then go for it.

    Yeah and when you're done you just throw the skin suit in the washing machine.
  8. Yeah and when you're done you just throw the skin suit in the washing machine.
    Hoping they are disposable. Just throw out the old one and pop on a new one so you don't have to go long without your ... skin.

    I mean, asking for a friend.

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