Researchers from Tokyo have succeeded for the first time in developing a skin imitation for robots. However, the artificial robot skin cannot yet survive in everyday life.
Robot technology is developing at a breathtaking speed. Some time ago, machines with artificial intelligence (AI) were still considered a rarity in everyday life. Today, in many places, it’s hard to imagine life without them. But it will probably be a while before we encounter humanoid androids on a regular basis.
Human skin grows around robot fingers
In a recent experiment, human skin grew around a robot’s finger. To do this, the researchers placed the robot in a mold and covered it with connective tissue cells and a nutrient solution. The cells grew under laboratory conditions and over time settled around the mold used.
But the resulting leather skin was not enough. In order to achieve a replica that is as realistic as possible, the researchers planted horn-forming cells on the resulting construct. Over time, this resulted in a robot finger with an artificial skin that has properties similar to those of humans.
Robot skin can heal itself in an emergency
The whole thing even goes so far that the artificial skin can heal itself. If the finger injured, the researchers placed a piece of collagen on the spot. As a result, the injured area regenerated and then showed a similar stability as before.
However, the approach is not yet fully developed. Although the robot skin is very similar to that of humans, the cells can hardly survive in dry conditions and outside of the nutrient liquid. So it will still be a while before machines become more and more like humans.