Of course it was inspired by "The Terminator."
Living Tissue Over Endoskeleton
A pair of researchers have created a living skin made of fungus, directly inspired by the 1984 film "The Terminator."
The goal is to develop a coating that could act as a biodegradable and multifunctional sensor for electronics, as New Scientist reports. Conventional electronic sensors made of silicone tend to be difficult to manufacture and often are limited in how many things they can detect at once.
"There’s this scene in 'The Terminator' in which they implant the skin on the robot," Antoni Gandia at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, co-author of a recent paper, which is currently under review, told New Scientist.
"The skin is external to him, yet it reports data to the robot and auto-repairs," he added. "We wanted to show that we can already do things like that."
I Am a Cybernetic Organism
Gandia and his colleague, Andrew Adamatzky at the University of the West of England, used a fungus species called Ganoderma sessile, which can grow in a variety of conditions. They then coated a seven-inch "Terminator" model — what else? — in agar to encourage the fungus to grow on its surface.
The fungus covered the figurine from top to bottom after just five days inside an incubator. The skin was also sensitive to light and touch.
In their paper, the researchers call it a "living, self-regenerating, and reactive Ganoderma sessile mycelium" that turned a "model cyborg figurine" into a "bio-cybernetic entity."
At best, the project is a proof of concept, and at worst, it's a silly toy. But the two scientists hope their research could lay the groundwork for living skins that could, for instance, coat buildings to regulate their temperature.
"As we continue to push the boundaries of what is achievable with mycelium, we step closer to a future where bio-cybernetic systems are a part of our everyday lives," they conclude in their paper.
More on mycelium: Scientists Build Computer Chips Out of Mushrooms
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