What began as the search for thin electronic sensors for robots could have impressive side effects for humans. A decade ago, Takao Someya and a team of researchers began looking into the possibility of creating a skin for robots. That skin would enable robots to "feel" with pressure and temperature sensors.
Today, the same team is looking into the applications of the same sort of skin for humans. The newest generation of cybernetic skin is one-tenth the thickness of cellophane and can bend, flex and crumple just as easily as the human body can, while maintaining the integrity of its circuits.
Obviously temperature and pressure sensors might not be the most useful functionality for a skin applied to people with, well, skin. To take advantage of cyborg skins, researchers are instead embedding heart rate monitors and other biomedical devices into the skins.
Even further into the future, we can expect skins with Wi-Fi capabilities, flexible, embedded organic LEDs and smartphone-esque multitouch interfaces. Cyborg skins are already capable of lasting for ten years — much longer than the lifespan of your average smartphone. After a decade in the same skin, you'll probably want to upgrade to the newest model anyway.
Via IEEE Spectrum