Artificial skin could help robots express emotions like real people

 New technology has enabled robots to be fitted with skin made from living human cells, giving them the ability to express emotions better.



Robots are no longer made of screws or dry metal or silicon, but now they can be made of living skin. They can even smile with that skin.


Scientists are working on a solution that will allow tech companies to produce robots with human-like faces.


Artificial skin can help robots express emotions like real people - 1

A new study from Japan details a new skin material based on human cells. The artificial skin has self-healing properties and can be used to adhere to the metal structures of future robots. Remarkably, this skin material also allows robots to smile, which sounds creepy but is better than other alternatives.


According to Live Science, researchers from the University of Tokyo have created artificial living skin and attached it to the robot's face using a new method.


Scientists are not relying on gluing artificial skin to the robot's face, as this could cause the artificial face to sag away from the robot's frame. Instead of appearing friendlier to humans, such a robot face could have the opposite effect.


Artificial skin can help robots express emotions like real people - 2


A research team from the University of Tokyo has developed a new mechanism that allows the artificial skin to stretch into V-shaped hooks and cover holes in the robot's frame, allowing the skin to adhere to the robot's face without sagging or developing lumps.


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To ensure the skin adheres to the frame, the robot is treated with steam plasma, which gives it hydrophobic properties. The skin gel is then drawn to the surface, ensuring the skin hooks are pulled into the holes of the frame.


The artificial skin is made from collagen and human skin cells. The human skin cells adhere to the collagen during the incubation process, giving it the same properties as real skin.


Furthermore, the artificial skin will be flexible enough for robots to express emotions. That does not mean that robots will have emotions because AI technology is not yet developed to that level.


Artificial skin can help robots express emotions like real people - 3


But companies that build robots to create a new workforce to support humans will likely want these robots to have algorithms that allow them to smile, like humans, during certain interactions.


Researchers have used silicon under a thin layer of skin to mimic the muscles responsible for controlling a human smile. In the future, scientists could use cultured muscle tissue instead of silicon to improve robots' facial expressions.

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