It seems every day there’s a new development in the world of robotics that brings the machines closer to humans. Personally, I think our days are numbered as humans and have thought so since I saw Spike Jonze’s Her. According to a recent Medgadget article, the latest human-like feature for robots is living “skin.” Developed at the University of Tokyo, the living coating for robotic parts is flexible enough to allow full finger flexing mobility, repels water, and can even self-heal when damaged.
The team behind the concept coated a robot in a “primer” layer of collagen and human dermal fibroblasts, the same components that make up our skin, that naturally conforms to the shape of the robotic surface beneath it. A second layer is composed of human epidermal keratinocytes that adhere to the primer layer. The team has proven its healing abilities by intentionally damaging the skin and then applying a collagen patch that prompted the cells in the tissue layer to regrow and heal.