Skin-deep robot

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A living skin to cover the androids: this is the somewhat crazy project developed by a team from the University of Tokyo. The bionic dermis, designed on the basis of human cells, should make it possible to endow the robotic device that dresses it with new capabilities, in particular the manipulation of fragile, soft or deformable objects, which require a great delicacy. Most importantly, just like human skin, this protective envelope has the amazing ability to regenerate. Chance on the calendar: On the other side of the planet, a team from Cornell University (United States) presented its own artificial skin, which would give the robot support a sensitivity to stimuli – touch, pressure, heat and cuts – much richer than conventional ones sensors. The skin is certainly an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the robotics of tomorrow. Yet in these imitations something escapes the human skin. The human skin is not a simple decoration, it is more the offshoot of the flesh, as Levinas says in Other than essence or beyond essence (1974): “One exposes itself to another as a skin exposes itself to what hurts it, like a cheek offered to the one who strikes. † This skin that man cannot get rid of is a protection, but, more fundamentally, it says the fragility of a body† “Pain, this underside of the skin, nudity is more naked than stripping.” The robot’s skin says nothing about this vulnerability.

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