One Step Closer to the Future: Human-Like Skin Developed for Robots

Scientists from the University of Tokyo and Harvard University have developed a brand new human-like skin for robots. This skin also has the ability to heal itself.
One Step Closer to the Future Human-Like Skin Developed for Robots

A step closer to humanoid robots featured in Terminator or other future-themed movies. Scientists from the University of Tokyo and Harvard University have developed a brand new human-like skin for robots. The newly developed skin brings potential benefits to robotic platforms such as increased mobility, self-healing abilities, embedded sensing capabilities, and an increasingly realistic appearance. However, for now, it has been used for a small, cute, and pink face.

Human-like skin for humanoid robots

Researchers added special holes that help a layer of skin adhere to a robot’s face, inspired by human skin connections. The project is led by Professor Shoji Takeuchi, known as a pioneer in the field of biohybrid robotics. He has previously led the development of walking mini robots using biological muscle tissue, 3D-printed lab-grown meat, self-healing engineered skin, and more. However, according to him, robotic skin technology needed to take a step further.

With this goal in mind, the team found a way to attach the skin to complex structures by mimicking human skin connections and using specially made V-shaped holes in solid materials. This allows the robotic skin to move seamlessly with mechanical components without tearing or peeling off.

One Step Closer to the Future Human-Like Skin Developed for Robots_0

Researchers believe the new skin can grant robots a range of new abilities, including self-healing. According to the researchers, the developed biological skin can mimic human skin. Therefore, this artificial skin can repair small cuts while integrating nerves and other skin organs, enabling sensory functions and more.

Researchers also believe that this skin could usher in a new era in cosmetics, surgical techniques, and plastic surgery. The team applied their developed skin to a small robotic face capable of smiling. They state that creating human-like expressions requires integrating sophisticated actuators or muscles into the robot and emphasize that achieving realism is as much about the movement exhibited as it is about the material used.

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