Scientists Create a Smiling Robot with Living Skin

Japanese scientists recently announced that they are starting to develop a living skin that could be attached to and used as robot skin.

According to a University of Tokyo research publication published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science, the researcher said that they are using a “skin-forming cell-laden gel.”. 

According to biohybrid specialists, this technology hopes to bring an invention of androids with human-like appearances and abilities.

Professor Shoji Takeuchi, the team leader, said, “We also hope this will help shed better light on wrinkle formations and the physiology of facial expressions.” These findings also hope to help develop the technology of skin transplantation material.

This new material could be the start of replacing the use of silicone rubber as the cover of humanoid robots, which do not have self-healing and sweat capabilities.

This technology hopes to bring an advancement to robots’s skin self-healing capabilities. But till now, the research has not reached those capabilities.

In the previous studies, the researchers grafted collagen to a cut on lab-grown skin that covered a robotic finger. This research demonstrates that the skin could be repaired.

But conducting a similar repair test on a smiling robotic skin is a totally different challenge. 

Creating what is described as a “natural smile” that moves naturally is hard. The researchers mimic the real human skin by gelatinizing the skin-like tissue and fixing it inside the robot’s holes, just like the human skin ligaments.

Source : M. Kawai, M. Nie, H. Oda, S. Takeuchi. Perforation-type anchors inspired by skin ligament for robotic face covered with living skin, Cell Reports Physical Science (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.xcrp.2024.102066. … 2666-3864(24)00335-7

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