You would think, with the way things are going, that no scientists studying robots, artificial intelligence or humanism has even seen flicks like The Terminator before. If so, it’s hard to imagine they’d be engaged in some of the experiments or creations they’ve got going now. Or maybe they are just taking their ideas from the big screen and giving them a whirl. Whatever the case may be, it sure seems like we are hurtling towards a dystopian future with the latest development possibly the scariest one yet. It appears that scientists have created living skin that can go over robots. Eat your heart our James Cameron, we are about to have Terminators walking around us.
It seems that scientists studying this at the University of Tokyo (via Futurism) have created a layer of living skin that was actually grown from human skin cells. The ultimate goal of this living skin is for it to be able to encase a robot, giving the appearance of actual humans rather than the tell-tale signs of the killer machine. It sure looks like we are closer to having robots living among us undetected sooner than later, especially if this latest discovery is able to be replicated in a meaningful way.
And it would appear that this living skin has many of the trademarks of the stuff that’s sitting outside our own bodies. For starters, it’s water repellent meaning the humanoid robots won’t have to worry about their insides getting soaked. And it’s also self-healing so the robots will be able to do that creepy thing in movies where their skin instantly covers itself back up after it’s been riddled with bullets in a firefight. Good times. Check out what this robotic finger made from living skin actually looks like and prepare for the end of human existence.
According to the scientists tasked with completing this living skin, the process they took in making it included filling a cylinder with collagen and human dermal fibroblasts which were mixed together to form the solution for the skin. The concoction then had the ability to perfectly form over the robotic skeleton, giving it a seamless look. There’s hope, they will now continue this process to replicate the rest of the human body.
And this living skin has the ability, like our own, to stretch and contract, giving it the elasticity to perform general and basic movements like pulling a trigger, or detonating a nuclear bomb to wipe out humanity. So they’ve got that piece covered when the robot vs. human war actually begins in earnest. Wouldn’t want the robots unable to look exactly like humans when they take over the world.
The “good” news here is that this first attempt at living skin didn’t have the staying power of our natural layer. It needs near-constant maintenance and deteriorates fast. So there’s still work to be done on this front. But considering this is something like a first run at the process, it’s easy to imagine significant gains are made over the next few years in creating something much more durable, realistic, and terrifying.