This Robotic Finger Has Skin Made From Living Cells
Though it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, in a study published Thursday in the journal Matter, researchers described how they developed skin tissue for robots that looks and moves just like ours. “We have shown that living skin tissue can be used as a coating material for robots,” Shoji Takeuchi, an engineer at the University of Tokyo and lead author of the study, told Insider. “This result has the potential to make robots look more human-like.”
To craft the skin, the team first submerged a robotic finger in a cylinder filled with a solution of collagen and fibroblasts — two main components that make up skin, the human body's largest organ. Using living cells also endows robots with the biological functions of skin, such as its ability to self-repair and repel water.
The research team sees a variety of potential uses for this technology, like helping engineers create more nimble and human-like prosthetics and aiding in the development of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals for skin.