Lab Proves Transplanted Skin Can Grow Hair

Recently technology has made huge strides in providing us with new ways of replacing damaged body parts, with the ability to 3d print organs being one of the most revolutionary changes that could soon see us being able to replace damaged organs. Now scientists in Japan are showing off again by showing that transplanted skin can grow hair.

Shown in the image above, the transplanted skin is marked with a green protein and clearly shows that the transplanted skin is actually growing hair. The process started by taking stem cells from a mouse’ gums and was crafted into multiple layered pieces of skin, sweat glands and hair follicles included. Upon being transplanted to a “nude mouse”, the skin integrated with the new host and even grew the hair shown above.

With the results showing promise the team says that the end result may be 5-10 from being translated to human research. Dr Takashi Tsuji from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe was part of the team that conducted the research and is quoted as saying:

“Up until now, artificial skin development has been hampered by the fact that the skin lacked the important organs, such as hair follicles and exocrine glands, which allow the skin to play its important role in regulation

With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue.

We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation

With so many breakthroughs and advanced in science thanks to technology it’s hard not to agree with the dream of being able to recreate and replace organs with those built in a lab.

Stretchy Robot Shows off Octopus-Like Skin

While some may be impressed by the upcoming flexible displays targetted at consumer electronics, a team of engineers at Cornell University have developed a far more exciting version inspired by the octopus. Published today in Science, a report describes the development of a “skin” capable of high levels of flexibility, the ability to change colour, illuminate and even sense pressure.

Compared to that of a cephalopod, a human’s skin is relatively uninteresting, however as this study shows, these researchers were capable of identifying multiple ways of achieving the numerous properties of octopus skin with technology. The engineers focused on making artificial “skin” that can light up as well as react to touch while simultaneously handling being stretched to several times the original size. So far, three proof of concept designs for the technology has been shown off, with a common element being the use of thin rubber pixels which can be arranged in strips, grids or even covering the body of a robot. These pixels are each made up of five individual layers with flexible silicone on the outside, covering two transparent electrodes all on top of a central luminescent phosphor layer which colours based on electrical stimulation.

As shown in the video, the technology is already capable of staying illuminated even while being stretched like gum. In a sheet, it is capable of being bent out of shape in many ways and even being rolled up tightly. Finally, a robot seeming somewhat reminiscent of a caterpillar illuminates in multiple colours as each of the air chambers it uses to crawl inflates.

The possibilities of this technology appear to be endless, presenting the ability to make soft robots capable of displaying information across a skin of screens. One application identified by the researchers is providing the ability to illuminate in different colours “in response to mood or the tone of the room.” As is clear from the video, the technology is currently somewhat limited and there is a way to go in making the technology higher resolution, capable of a wider palette of colours and thinner before it could have a place in consumer electronics. For now, maybe they could make us a light up Stretch Armstrong?

Image credit to Cornell University

Artificial Skin with a Sense Of Touch Being Developed

The technology behind prosthetic limbs has dramatically evolved over time for the benefit of assisting individuals who have had the misfortune of losing a limb. The next step forward to that is a coined Bionic limb that gives the user something akin to natural human skin. This realization looks to be making significant progress after “funding from the U.S. Department of Defence has allowed several researchers to make progress toward  more humanlike prosthetic hands that offer users a sense of control and touch”.  

It’s a strange one that funding is being allocated from the department of defense with the aim of benefiting humanity instead of the standard artillery. Anyway, scientists from Stanford have outlined a new type of pressure sensor in the form of a flat yet flexible material that could in theory serve as a type of artificial skin layer, which would then fit onto prosthetics. This is very much in the vein of human skin that is fitted over the bone and muscle within a human body, this technique would then in theory allow the wearer to both manipulate and also feel objects, though it’s not the evolution form of natural touch, but rather an artificial replication of the sensation.

Lead researcher Zhenan Bao has outlined that “The sensors send pulses that the brain interprets in order to determine a certain sense of touch. “It’s directly mimicking the biological system”

The “skin” itself is constructed from plastic which is then printed with a waffle pattern to make it compressible. Embedded inside are “carbon nanotubes”, these are tiny rods of pure carbon that conduct electricity which in turn squeezes the material and bring the rods closer together, creating more rapid pulses as the pressure increases.

In essence, this is a fascinating step forward that could hopefully benefit and also assist a person’s life. The ability to feel is an essential part of the human condition, any loss of that is worrying when you think of the potential ramifications. But that is not the end, eventually the scientific community hopes to be able to “channel information from artificial sensors into the peripheral nerves that were once connected to the lost hand”.

Human exploration and understanding of science has achieved a great deal and this is another compelling chapter. Hopefully, this work will achieve more answers and enable further development.

Thank you technologyreview for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of gizmodo

The Skarp Laser Razor is Cutting Edge

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s incredibly easy to rush during a morning shave and cut oneself. The traditional razor is functional but the design remains relatively unaltered. Despite this, the engineering team at Skarp have constructed a revolutionary razor which cuts hair without any blades. The high-tech design uses a laser to carefully remove hairs from your skin in a more precise manner. Additionally, the laser has a lifespan in excess of 50,00 hours and powered by a single AAA battery which lasts around a month.

The Skarp Laser Razor is environmentally friendly and significantly reduces the build up of plastic from disposable razors. However, the product doesn’t come cheap and currently costs $159.99 to early backers. I dread to think what the retail price would be but there is some value when you consider the cost of replacement blades. I’m quite fond of the sleek, aluminum design but feel the price is way too much to become a mainstream success story.

There is certainly scope to use this technology in the future, but I’m not convinced consumers will feel comfortable using lasers on their skin.

What do you think of the Skarp Laser Razor?

Thank you HiConsumption for providing us with this information. 

L’Oreal Teaming Up To 3D Print Skin

Cause you’re worth it. The catch phrase of L’Oreal, a world-famous cosmetic company, is known to many. Did you know that they grow skin from donated samples? How about that they want to start 3D printing human skin?

Teaming up with the start-up company Organovo, L’Oreal hopes to be able to use the created skin in its product tests. Organovo, however, is new to this area, having already claimed that they can 3D print a human liver that will last for up to 40 days.

Stated as in the early research stages, experts are divided about how this would work. Many believe that the science behind it is plausible, and that is is possible to 3D print skin and other parts using human cells. One possible application of this would be to help burn and trauma patients, being able to replace the damaged skin and create skin graphs on site in each hospital using specialist 3D printers.

A major advantage of this would be in regards to animal testing, with the ability to test cosmetics on human tissue giving better results and more in-depth knowledge about side effects without the need for animal testing or damage to a person undergoing the testing.

With the ability to create more humane testing methods, help repair damage done by fire to burn victims and with untold potential it will be interesting to follow how L’Oreal and Organovo use this technology and research.

Thank you BBC and Organovo for providing us with this information.

Unity 5 Now Supports Stunning EISKO Character Physically-Based Shading

EISKO has announced the release of a new addition for Unity 5, a Character Physically-Based Shaders (CPBS) package on the Unity Asset Store, which give developers access to high performance tools for creating realistic and lifelike human characters with skin that reacts to environmental lighting.

The new CPBS package gives rendered human skin a realistic translucent quality for soft light reflection, seamlessly blends facial expression transition, and mimics skin elasticity, all at 60fps. Also included in the package is a dedicated eye shader with fully customisable iris and sclera controls, plus shaders for teeth, clothing, and eyelashes.

The PCBS can account for diffuse, specular intensity and roughness, displacement, and high-frequency normal maps, allowing integration of microstructure details, tessellation, and screen-based SSS and ambient occlusion, all fully compatible with Unity 5’s new global animation.

Source: Dark Side of Gaming