Life imitates art (yes, the Terminator movie is art!) as University of Tokyo roboticists cover a robotic finger with living human skin.
Materials like rubber and silicone donít move, bend, wrinkle, or even respond to light the same way human skin does, and itís immediately obvious to our eyes and brains when artificial skin has been used...
The most obvious way to cover an artificial being in human skin is to grow sheets of the material in a lab and wrap it around a robotís various parts, in a similar way to how replacement skin is grown for burn victims. But even with a skilled application, that still leaves seams, something real humans donít have, and limits how naturally the skin can flex and move if the fit isnít flawless.
The researchers took an entirely different approach here. A relatively simple robotic finger with three moving joints was first submerged in a solution made up of collagen, a structural protein, and dermal fibroblasts, the primary type of human cells found in skinís connective tissue and its sub-surface dermis layer. This solution shrank and tightly conformed itself to the robotic finger, creating a flexible foundation on which to apply multiple layers of epidermal keratinocytes, the primary type of human cells found in skinís outer epidermis layer.