Science Today's Featured SourceFed Videos 20

Synthetic Skin And Invisibility Cloaks


So, yeah, science is rapidly outpacing our own human development to the point where Skynet will exist, they will have human tissue over the skeletal structure of their machine bodies, and they will be invisible. Anyway, today’s latest science updates: Synthetic skin and invisibility cloaks.

First up, scientists at Stanford University have created a synthetic skin that can self-heal within 30 minutes at room temperature. The immediate applications are, of course, in the field of prosthetics, but in the long term the science could be applied to computers and even your own body.

There are actually two things at work here — one, a synthetic skin that self-heals. Two — the skin is electrically conducive. Again, with prosthetics, we’ve shown that we can create bionic arms and legs. The self-healing for this is obvious. But with it being conducive to electricity also means that we’re closer to completely creating a mechanical hand from scratch that works as well as Luke Skywalker’s.

Consider the handshake — while the fully-mechanical hand may be able to handle pressure in the sense of not crushing something Army of Darkness style, laying over the synthetic skin will allow the more nuanced energy transfers in the handshake to be sent to your brain, allowing you more finesse.

Then there’s the self-healing application. With it being electrically conducive, you can build computer components that can repair itself if damaged. And for you first-world people — see your cracked iPhone? Think about that repairing itself in half an hour.

Anyway: Invisibility.

Scientists have succeeded in creating a cloaking device that bends light perfectly around an object showing no difference in the look of its environment to the naked eye. The work began in 2006 when a paper from Imperial College London showed that it was theoretically possible.

Immediately folks tried to make that real. Many have gotten close, but earlier attempts would show more of a Predator cloak, where you can see the contours of the device.

The device now has its own limitations as well — it only works in one general direction. But the device works, and the military applications are legion and absolutely terrifying. Imagine a device that a sniper sets up wherein he’s literally invisible until he’s ready to shoot. Damn.

So, yeah, synthetic skin and invisibility cloaks. We’re living in the future.

Question: So, what’s next? Singularity, at this point? FTL travel?