How a team of Japanese scientists invented ‘living human skin’ for self-healing robots – Technology News, Firstpost
PF explainersJun 20, 2022 1:28:37 PM IST
If you ever thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger terminator can never be a real possibility, or that it was at least a thousand years in the future, think againbecause a team of Japanese scientists has developed “real” living, human-like skin for robots that heals itself.
The creation of artificial humans or humanoids has been the goal of many for centuries. There have been examples of this practice even in Greek mythology. But we’ve never been closer to reaching a realistic goal human-like robot that we currently do.
A team of Japanese scientists from the University of Tokyo actually grew living human skin from human skin cells. This new material feels, works and behaves just like normal human skin. The lab-made skin has successfully generated the look and feel of real human skin and has been shown to repel water and repair itself when damaged by minor injuries and abrasions.
This new “living” skin for robots could push progress towards humanoid robotics even further. That’s because looking “real” is one of the top priorities for engineers and researchers for humanoid robots. Imagine if Elon Musk appropriated this technology for the Tesla bot.
Since these robots are designed to work directly in the healthcare and service industries, they need to look real and human to avoid scaring people away. Only this time, it seems science has outdone itself.
Shoji Takeuchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo who led the team of scientists, says the researchers created a new kind of method of molding the tissue instead of cutting the skin to fit the finger. Then they immersed the finger in a cylinder filled with a mixture of collagen and human dermal fibroblasts which is a form of human skin tissue. Basically, they had to use the two main components of skin connectivity tissue.
This plan succeeded in making a living skin for the robots due to its natural tendency to shrink. As it dried, the mixture shrunk and closely conformed to the robotic finger and gave it a realistic but somewhat clammy look.
Takeuchi thinks living skin is the “ultimate solution” to making robots look like living creatures. And it looks like the researchers are close to making living skin for the robots. The team plans to bring their new development to some of the prominent Japanese robotics companies in the world.