As robots become integrated with human activities and free humans from mundane tasks, it will be useful if robots seem more like us. Of course, that will require them to have skin that responds to physical forces such as movement, especially speech movements and emotions.
While cutaneous biologists concentrate on reproducing human skin with elegant biological systems (including 3-D printing), in the parallel universe of robotic research, artificial polymers have been used to recreate many of the physical properties of human skin. Respirator masks are being tested and refined on robotic heads covered with “Frubber“™ — an artificial patented rubber polymer with physical characteristics of human skin important for the respirator fitting.
A video shows a robot with Frubber™ skin talking.
Conflict of interest:
This author has no financial interest in artificial skin or robotics; his nephew is the first author of the blog from the CDC.