We all have watched and enjoyed the movie “Terminator,” which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the cyborg assassin. The movie was a remarkable example of science fiction, however, little did we know that robots can look like humans in the real world as well. Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully built a robotic finger covered in living human skin similar to Arnold’s finger in the movie.
This is one step forward to creating robots that look like humans!
Terminator-like Robot Brought To Life
Shoji Takeuchi and the team said on June 9th in Matter that Human-like robots can easily interact with humans in the service and medical industries. A robot is covered in living tissue to make it look more human-like. Some might find it creepy but for others, this idea is extremely intriguing, to say the least. But, in reality, it’s a great scientific success.
Takeuchi and the team merged the robotic digit with a blend of human skin cells and collagen. The process is called dermal fibroblasts. This mixture settles in the base of the skin, covering the finger before a liquid containing human cells is poured into the robotic finger to form the outer skin layer. After two weeks, the skin cells started regenerating and the finger grew to be a few millimeters thicker than the human skin.
The skin created around the robot finger was strong and stretchy enough to withstand robotic movements. You might be surprised to know that scientists did an experiment with the skin they created around the robot finger and were amazed by the results; they cut the robotic finger and put a collagen bandage over it for a healing effect. The skin cells merged with the collagen in the bandage, healing the cut that was created.
Ritu Raman, an MIT engineer who builds living components and machines, said that this is very interesting work and this development will make it easy to progress in the field. She further added that biological experiments are appealing because they behave similar to living things and can quickly adapt to the environment. She was hoping for a development wherein nerve cells are embedded under the living skin to make them react to their surroundings. She also said that for now, more tests would be run on the lab-made skin before the robot can move with it freely. Most of the time, the robot finger is soaking in sugar and amino acids to keep the lab-made skin alive. A cyborg-like robot will have to bathe in a broth full of nutrients as a part of his skincare ritual – but we bet it’s totally worth it, to gain human form!