Scientists want Terminator-style robots to harvest flesh

Scientists want Terminator-style robots to harvest flesh
Humanoid robots would wear human flesh for skin grafts (file)

Scientists are calling for Terminator-style robots to be built so their human tissue can be harvested.

Writing in Science Robotics, two University of Oxford biomedical researchers argue that humanoid robots would make the best frame to grow muscle and tendon grafts.

Currently, tissue engineering uses large tanks to grow sheets of cells. However these machines can't simulate the same stresses that tissue faces inside the human body and "fail to mimic the real mechanical environment for cells".

As a result, these tissues are often too weak to be effective - especially for "bone-tendon-muscle grafts... because failure during healing often occurs at the interface between tissues".

Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Professor Andrew Carr believe we should use a "humanoid-bioreactor system" with "structures, dimensions, and mechanics similar to those of the human body".

As tissue grows on the robot it would receive the same stresses as it would face on a real human, creating stronger and healthier tissue for harvesting.

Mr Mouthuy and Prof Carr say this could be the first step towards "biohybrid humanoids" - or Terminator-style robots where a metal endoskeleton is covered in human tissue.

What could go wrong?