TechCrunch Minute: Beware the smiling robot with living skin

Will robots ever have living, human skin? Researchers have been exploring the question and they’ve come up with some pretty unsettling results.

I think it’s fair to say that no one would confuse any of today’s robots, no matter how advanced, with another human being. Even when a company like Tesla or Figure creates a humanoid robot, it’s about capturing our general shape, not replicating the expressiveness of our features.

But a recently published study from researchers at the University of Tokyo and Harvard seems to take us one step further in that direction. The researchers were specifically interested in trying to replicate the network of ligaments that connects our skin with the underlying muscle and tissue.

In this case, they wanted to create skin that would cling to an artificial substrate, and then could be manipulated to do things like smile without any tearing or distortion. As you can see, the results were pretty creepy looking — or as Devin put it, “absolute nightmare fuel.” But in principle, it seems to work: This could be a viable method for attaching living skin to a robotic undercarriage.

Hit play to learn (and see) more, then let us know what you think in the comments!

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