Humanoid Robots Are Expected to Have Human Skins

Humanoid Robots Are Expected to Have Human Skins

Efforts are underway to make humanoid robots more advanced. Scientists from around the globe have been working on refining skin transplants. One of their applications is to test it on the face of a humanoid robot.

At the moment, science and technology has evolved to a significant extent. It has empowered researchers to innovate more, enabling them to grow replacement skin cells in tanks. With this skin, robots find it hard to adjust to movements, such as screaming, frowning, and smiling. However, there’s a new idea on the horizon.

Just like how you warm up playdough for a while because you can mould it in a wide range of shapes, similar concerns exist with the human skin. Transplant patients are often not happy with their skin due to its unresponsiveness and stiffness. This is why the scientific community is considering putting the human skin on a humanoid robot’s face. In this way, it could adapt to and replicate facial expressions better.

Discussions are also taking place around the development of a more advanced type of robot, which is referred to as a “self-repairing biohybrid humanoid”. In addition, researchers are looking to grow human skin, muscles, and tendons on a robot’s hands and legs.

For starters, there are considerations to put human skin on Kenshiro. But, who is Kenshiro? Let’s find out.

Meet Kenshiro

Japanese researchers hit another milestone in the robotic industry. Scientists from the University of Tokyo designed a revolutionary robot. What makes it unique is that is it’s a tendon-controlled humanoid robot. This means that it is more proficient in mimicking humanlike movements.

Kenshiro, the name given to the robot, is a reference to a popular Japanese hero who was part of a well-known manga comic series in 1980s.

The aim of Kenshiro’s developers was to emphasize on human anatomy so it could appear as natural as possible. They reviewed the appearance and movements in humans and programmed Kenshiro to copy it. In order to provide Kenshiro with humanlike flexibility, it was equipped with the all the essential muscles: 76 in the torso, 50 in the legs, 22 in the neck, and 12 in the shoulder. As of now, this is a record – no humanoid robot has been fitted with a greater number of muscles.  As a result, Kenshiro has the ability to move his torso, arms, and legs. However, it is yet to walk properly.

So, how does a humanoid robot replicates these movements? Well, all you need to do is to show a movement and then it will try to imitate it. For this purpose, you are going to need mechanical interface open-source AI-powered software. Since walking is a lot more complex, this method is insufficient. However, the rate at which the robotic and AI industry is growing, expect Kenshiro to walk like a human soon.

Kenshiro’s height is 158m and it weighs around 50 kg – it has been intentionally designed like this to meet the appearance of a teenager Japanese boy. An adult-size robot with the same configuration would have weighed 100 kg, which would have required a greater amount of energy and risked slowing down the robot.