Recently researchers at Tokyo University have developed living tissue that covers a robot skeleton and can pose as an actual skin for the robots. These robots will have human skeleton structure and will have human-like skin, making them more realistic like the ones in the Terminator movies. Although their work is at the early stage they have developed a method that will grow living muscles over a robotic frame.
The method involves turning of individual precursor cells called myoblasts to muscle cell-filled hydrogel sheets. This is done in order to give robots functioning muscles that is very flexible. There was a demo conducted where electric currents were used to contact the lab-grown muscles that were on the robot’s finger and thus allowing the robot to pick a ring and slid it through the finger. Later stimulating the muscle on the other side and prompting the biohybrid robot to let go of the ring.
Although, the researchers have said Digital Trends that the contractions of the tissues do not last long due to the spontaneous shrinking. These tissues contract and as a result, they become less flexible. Contraction occurs because it is obviously not human skin and since it is an artificial one, the best way is to use it for a certain time frame and later change the entire skin structure.
Researchers say that they have managed to give a 90-degree range of muscle movement, but they are yet to figure out the best structure to balance both shrinkage and contraction.