When it was released in 1984, The Terminator was an instant, mind-bending, sci-fi blockbuster. The feature stunned moviegoers with the concept that genocidal machines would one day adopt human form. As the years have passed, we’ve become all but numb to the spector of killer robots. But now, with the development of AI, military bots and robot skin, Androids able to pass for humans is closer to reality than ever.
Scientists in Japan have invented a living skin that is waterproof, self-healing, and very close to real human skin.
Published in the science journal, Matter, scientists detailed how a mix of human dermal fibroblasts and collagen was mixed to create a solution. A robotic finger was then dipped in the solution and the mixture conformed to the robot digit, filling the voids and giving a life-like human appearance.
The lead author of the study, Professor Shoji Takeuchi of the University of Tokyo touts the project as the “ultimate solution’ for creating robots with a natural looking human persona.
Although the cultured skin isn’t as strong as real human skin, and requires constant moisture to prevent drying out, the project team believes increasing the proportion of collagen will make it more resilient.
“Building perfusion channels within and beneath the dermis equivalent to mimic blood vessels to supply water, as well as the integration of sweating glands in the skin equivalent, are important directions for future research,” the paper notes.
After the tissue is stabilized, the next step is to create nerve endings so that the skin will perform as a sensory organ, as it does in humans.
“These findings show the potential of a paradigm shift from traditional robotics to the new scheme of biohybrid robotics that leverage the advantages of both living materials and artificial materials,” the paper concludes.