Google Is Making Human Skin. Why?

30/01/2015 10:18 GMT | Updated 30/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Google is making human skin. Also, it's making robots, working on advanced artificial intelligence and has lots and lots of money.

But don't panic. Google says its experiments in making human-like skin to wrap around inherently creepy dismembered limbs are only terrifying if you don’t know what they are for.

In an interview with The Atlantic, the search giant says that its Life Sciences division is working on a bracelet that can detect cancer cells automatically.

But to test how that might work, it has to have something to experiment on - IE a material like human skin, which is mixed with actual skin.

The concept for the Google X Labs’ bracelet is to use nanoparticles delivered by pills, which attach themselves to cancer cells and literally light them up, as well as drawing them to the bracelet (which is magnetically attracted to the particles).

The bracelet can then analyse the nanoparticles on their return, and check to see if any of them are attached to cancer cells. But crucially Google also wants to make it possible to literally see the lit-up clumps of nanoparticles under the skin. To do that it needs to know how skin works and how bright to make the particles - hence the experiments.

For now it’s only an experimental idea - and you’re not likely to see it on the NHS any time soon. But it’s an intriguing idea, and more evidence that Google’s ambitions don’t just stop at robots, self-driving cars, WiFI weather balloons and… what’s the last one? Oh, right. Search.