MIT researcher’s artificial skin will make you look 10 years younger

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by world-renowned scientist Robert Langer, has developed an artificial skin that will shave years off your life — aesthetically, we mean. The properties of the material give it an elasticity and durability that mimic healthy, youthful skin. When it is applied as a second layer over your existing skin, nobody will know that you are wearing it because it is so thin that it is almost invisible. The only catch: The change is only temporary.  The second skin eventually loses its elasticity and the next day your face returns to its normal appearance.

Langer and his team of chemical engineers and medical researchers call this new skin XPL, for crosslinked polymer layer. It measures only 70 micrometers at this thickest point, making it half the thickness of a dollar bill. To make the skin taut enough that it smooths out wrinkles, Langer has developed a two-step process for applying the artificial skin. Researchers first lay down polysiloxane, a see-through silicone plastic that coats the skin. They then add a platinum catalyst that causes the polysiloxane to rearrange its molecules in a grid, which pulls the material taut against the skin.

In a series of experiments to test the properties of the artificial skin, researchers applied XPL to human test subjects. They discovered that the material was only marginally helpful in keeping skin moist, but very effective at covering age-related facial changes, such as wrinkles and bags under the eyes. Using a 3D photography technique that can examine the surface area at skin level, the team found that the treated skin was almost twice as smooth as untreated skin. These age-reversing changes occurred almost instantly, producing measurable results only four hours after the XPL was applied. When the XPL layer loses its elasticity, users can easily peel it off their skin with no side effects.

Besides its potential for cosmetic use, researchers hope to use the second skin in a variety of medical applications. “It’s an invisible layer that can provide a barrier, provide cosmetic improvement, and potentially deliver a drug locally to the area that’s being treated. Those three things together could really make it ideal for use in humans,” said MIT associate professor Daniel Anderson. Langer’s breakthrough material is detailed in an article published recently in Nature Materials.

Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

New research could allow fast diagnosis of viruses like Ebola and Zika

A new development in molecular biology is a step towards instant diagnosis of viruses like Ebola or Zika. Researchers have found a way to use a mobile device to identify plant viruses and potentially animal and human viruses too.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.