Scientists create living human skin for robots | News UK Video News


Scientists have created living human skin on robots that is water-resistant and can heal itself.

scientists want robot look as human-like as possible so that they can be identified with, which is particularly important when they are used in the healthcare and service industries.

Researchers believe living skin is the solution to giving robots the look and touch of being alive.

To create the skin, the researchers dipped a robotic finger into collagen and human dermal fibroblasts — the two main components that make up the skin’s connective tissue.

Shoji Takeuchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said, “The finger looks slightly ‘sweaty’ straight from the culture medium.

“Since the finger is powered by an electric motor, it’s also interesting to hear the clicking sounds of the motor consistent with a real-looking finger.”

Although the silicone skin currently made for robots can mimic a human appearance, it lacks finer details such as wrinkles and cannot function like human skin.

One of the difficulties in making living skin layers to cover robots is attaching them to moving objects with uneven surfaces.

Prof. Takeuchi said: “This method requires having the hands of a skilled craftsman who can cut and tailor the skin sheets.

“To efficiently cover surfaces with skin cells, we developed a tissue molding process to mold skin tissues directly around the robot, resulting in seamless skin coverage on a robotic finger.”

Development has given the robotic finger a skin-like texture. Image: PA

According to Prof. Takeuchi, the success lies in the natural shrinkage tendency of this mixture of collagen and fibroblasts, which shrank and fitted snugly to the finger.

This layer also provided a consistent base for the next layer of human cells to adhere to.

These cells make up 90% of the outermost layer of skin, giving the robot skin-like texture and moisture-retaining barrier properties.

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The handcrafted skin is stretchy enough to move as the robotic finger bends and stretches, can be lifted with tweezers, repels water, and can even heal itself with the help of a collagen bandage.

Prof. Takeuchi said: “We are surprised how well the skin tissue adapts to the surface of the robot.

“I think living skin is the ultimate solution to give robots the look and feel of living things, since it’s the exact same material that covers animal bodies.”

The study was published in the journal Matter.

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