Skin resembling human skin, and moreover alive, is what scientists from the University of Tokyo have created. In a study published in the journal , they present a robotic finger covered with an organic skin, possessing functions and healing. An advance which may seem minor but which brings us significantly closer to ! “I think living skin is the ultimate solution to make robots look and feel like living creatures, because it’s exactly the same which covers the body of animals”said Shoji Takeuchi, first author of the study.
Genuine components of human skin
To get thisthe researchers used an assembly of living cells made in vitro and of . A blend inspired by biologicals used in medicine to treat serious wounds and burns. They first immersed the robotic finger in a mixture of human skin and collagen to reproduce the equivalent of then covered the whole thing with human epidermis for .
The whole thing then shrunk during thesurrounding the finger and forming folds similar to those of real skin. “The advantage of our method for covering 3D objects with the equivalent of skin is the use of tissue shrinkage during culture, which allows conformal coverage of 3D objects, especially those with curved and uneven surfaces. », write the researchers.
To check the outfit and theof the skin, the team then had several to and has more “evaluated the barrier function of fabricated skin equivalents with electrical measurements and tests of », as the researchers write. And it all held up really well! ‘The finger al’ slightly “wet” straight out of the growing mediumenthused S.Takeuchi. As the finger is driven by an electric motor, it is also interesting to hear the clicks of the motor in harmony with a finger that looks like a real one. »
In addition to its aesthetic and mechanical characteristics, the brand new skin created has properties of. The researchers placed a collagen bandage after having ” hurt ” the robotic finger: the bandage gradually melted into the skin and thus rebuilt it! “The wound was repaired by dermal fibroblast activity after the collagen sheet was applied to the wound site. These results show the applicability of robots covered with living materials to biological functions and offer a new perspective on robotic materials. »
But this is only the beginning, as the study concludes: developed skin remains weaker than natural skin, and requires: for the future, the team plans to add of the hairy, and . “We are surprised at how well the fabric conforms to the surface of the robotsays Takeuchi. But this work is only the first step towards creating robots covered in living skin. »
The formed skin withstood all the tests! © Matter, Kawai and para.