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Robots are getting scarier – Business Insider

Researchers created a 3D facial mold and a 2D robot covered in living, lab-grown skin.
The University of Tokyo

  • Researchers have unveiled a smiling humanoid robot with lab-grown, self-healing skin.
  • The University of Tokyo team used collagen gel to bind living skin tissue to 3D models.
  • Researchers said this could benefit the cosmetic industry and help train plastic surgeons.

It’s not just nuts and bolts that hold robots together: they can now be made with living skin. Skin that can make you smile.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo on Tuesday revealed a rather disturbing humanoid robot covered in lab-grown skin. The team said they were able to mimic human skin ligaments by bonding skin tissue to perforated 3D facial molds and 2D robots.

A press release says the team hopes these advances will be “useful in the cosmetic industry and help train plastic surgeons.”

While this development may prove useful, some people online reacted to the robot’s fleshy skin and facial movements with jokes or said they found it disturbing. One in X wrote: “You will live long enough to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension.” Another said: “We don’t want this.” Nobody wants that. Stop.”

The researchers said that, unlike other materials, biological skin gave these robots self-healing capabilities without requiring triggers such as heat or pressure.

“Biological skin repairs minor lacerations like ours does, and nerves and other skin organs can be added for use in sensing, etc.,” said Shoji Takeuchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo who led the research.

The researchers said other techniques for attaching skin to surfaces, such as using mini-anchors or hooks, limited the surfaces they could use. and could cause damage.

But they said that by using a “special collagen gel for adhesion”, they could apply the skin to any surface, even curved or moving, like a smiling robot.

“The skin’s natural flexibility and strong adhesion method mean the skin can move with the mechanical components of the robot without tearing or peeling,” Takeuchi said.

He said the team hoped to create thicker, more realistic skin by “incorporating sweat glands, oil glands, pores, blood vessels, fat and nerves.” He added that by using devices called actuators to mimic muscle movement, researchers could create human-like expressions.

This is just the latest development in humanoid robotics, which aims to mimic human appearance and functions – sometimes falling into the uncanny valley.

Tesla is developing its Optimus robot, which CEO Elon Musk hopes people will think of “as a kind of friend.” Other robots operate on four legs, like Boston Dynamics’ robotic police dog.

While you probably don’t have to worry about seeing living skin on a production robot anytime soon, researchers at the University of Tokyo have at least demonstrated that it’s possible – even if that means a bit nightmare fuel for the rest of us along the way.

News Source : www.businessinsider.com
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