Skynet developed the technology to grow living tissue, which is also known as cyborg tissue, over the endoskeletons of Terminators as a living tissue Infiltration outer sheath to make it become an Infiltrator, allowing the machine to infiltrate the Resistance, as well as generate the bio-electric field necessary to send Terminator units to the past from the future.
The living tissue was based on Dr. Elisa Fong's research, which was developed as artificial skin for burn victims. It then became the precursor to living tissue. To prevent the artificial skin from growing like cancer, Dr. Fong designed a control mechanism based on a virus as a kill switch for when in case there is anything going wrong, the virus will necrotize the skin, making the growth deactivate itself.
In the original timeline, Terminators were originally purely robotic and were not covered with living tissue. Starting with the T-600 Terminator, Skynet tried to cover the endoskeleton with rubber skin, which looked fake and was easily spotted. Skynet discovered a method that allowed them to grow living tissue over the endoskeleton, making the new Terminators almost impossible to spot. Since then, Skynet successfully developed the T-800 Terminator, which is the first truly successful Infiltrator unit, consisting of living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.
In the Salvation timeline, the development of living tissue was part of Project Angel and funded by the government in hope to help with battlefield injuries. This leads to the T-H Hybrid Humans, the first Terminator Series featuring living tissue before the T-800 was developed, being more convincingly human at the cost of having mostly unprotected human organs that can easily get targeted.
Since living tissue is the same as the real tissue on humans, it is able to bleed, sweat, breathe, produce realistic body odor, regenerate ("heal") and age, making an Infiltrator gain the advantage of being able to blend in human society. In addition, it was remarked that Infiltrators even had halitosis just like humans who failed to take care of their teeth.
Although Terminator flesh does contain blood, it only displays minimal bleeding when damaged and has never been shown to experience any kind of profuse bleeding, even from massive lacerations and dozens of gunshot wounds.
It is unknown what manner of circulatory system, if any, is employed, nor what biological processes take place to sustain the flesh covering.
In the original timeline, the early version of living tissue can necrotize if damaged after being shot multiple times. Following the shootout in the police station, the original T-800's skin had a noticeably waxy, corpse-like pale color and flies were sitting on its face. This drew an inquiry from Rodney, the janitor of the building the T-800 used as a safe house, as to whether the smell was coming from a dead animal Hence, the early version of living tissue, apparently, may "die" or at least undergo extensive necrosis.
When the T-800 was having bullets removed from his back, it explained that the wounds would heal over time. The Guardian's outer sheath of its right arm was destroyed by acid, but the tissue was fully regrown after years as was the damage to the living tissue on his face. Flesh lacerations can be "repaired". 
The sheaths used on the T-888 Infiltrators from The Sarah Connor Chronicles timeline appear to be noticeably superior to previous models, as there are many instances where the flesh has repaired after extensive damage within a few hours, leaving only scars that would disappear not too long after that. T-888 Infiltrator units are also capable of lasting extended periods. In addition, Myron Stark, a T-888 Infiltrator, had bricked itself inside a wall for over 40 years while its skin was still "alive" and "young". These machines also seem to nourish their organic components through the consumption of certain foods, including mostly carbohydrates.
In Salvation timeline, a more-advanced living tissue sheath was developed and utilized within a T-H Hybrid Human. As long as the brain is intact, a T-H was capable of regenerating an organ which had been previously removed over time, even when the subject was off-line. The living tissue of T-H will not age nor decay during hibernation.
Guardian's living tissue visibly aged from 1973 to 1984, something Kyle Reese commented on, stating that he had never seen a Terminator look so old. From 1984 and 2017, the Guardian's living tissue had aged further so he had a more elderly appearance, including white hair.
Process of living tissue growth
Synthetic blood plasma culture tank
The process of growing living tissue on Terminators is made by surrounding the endoskeleton with a special liquid of synthetic blood plasma, which is done in industrial facilities of Skynet. The human-based cyborg Dudley, formerly an ER trauma surgeon and combat medic in the Resistance, was made into a mobile field unit for the maintenance of Skynet's newly perfected T-800 Infiltrator. In their initial fielding, it still took over a year to cultivate a viable human tissue sheath for the infiltration units, and Skynet needed something small and familiar with human tissue, able to maintain the perishable and hard to replace tissue sheaths. Tissue repair (again) became his primary function.
The Terminator endoskeletons are placed inside a mold, which are presumably filled with a liquid possible similar to the one mentioned above, but directly controlled in order to produce finished and natural infiltration sheaths.
T2 Trilogy timeline
A more refined process was utilized by Serena Burns, an I-950 Infiltrator, in the creation of fully formed T-800 Terminators in the present utilizing a combination of contemporary materials and chemical extracts of her own enhanced blood. Fully formed infiltration sheaths with the Model 101 template were part of the two-month long crafting process in the Secret Terminator Lab. After adding tissue accellerants and remembering to alter key factors in the tissue matrix, a wider variety of appearances was available in a shorter time.
Synthetic blood plasma bath
In some cases, Terminators can grow living tissue by lowering themselves into a synthetic blood plasma bath. This field-expedient method of damaged tissue replacement requires the coercion and compliance of contemporary humans (theoretical hematologists, plastic surgeons), both to produce the synthetic bath, and to shape and refine the finished flesh product, as it is initially quite gruesome. The raw flesh generation and the corrective surgical procedures combined take several days to complete.
Terminator Salvation timeline
Known Terminator Series with living tissues
- Hybrid Human
- T-700 (Allegedly)
- Series 8xx
- T-900 (Rise of the Machines)
- Main article: Model
It has been shown that Terminator flesh coverings are somehow grown identically, producing many multiple copies of exactly the same physical appearance, indicating the use of specific physical templates for different variations of a model.
In addition to the Model 101, which had been worn by several units, a T-888 model known as "Vick Chamberlain" was also worn by multiple units as Vick had a memory of facing a room (presumably in the factory where it was created) of several dozen units sharing an identical template to itself, naked and moving in unison. Some Terminators' outer sheaths are custom-designed to copy the appearances of humans whom they are intended to kill and replace, such as Carl Greenway, James Ellison, and Allison Young.
In order for this time travel to occur, the subject must be a living organism (or must be surrounded by living tissue) in order to generate the bioelectric field needed for the Time Displacement Equipment to operate.
- Augmented Musculature
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day teaser trailer
- The Terminator Collectible Card Game
- The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy issue 2
- Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle issue 2
- The Terminator
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- Terminator Genisys
- Terminator: Dark Fate
- James Cameron talks about his involvement with Terminator Genisys
- In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-800 and Sarah Connor closed each other's wounds with sutures.
- In "Samson & Delilah", Cameron sealed her wounds with heavy duty staples.
- "Self Made Man"
- Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle issue 7
- The Terminator: Tempest Issue 1
- The Terminator: Secondary Objectives Issue 1
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day teaser trailer
- T2: Infiltrator
- T2: Rising Storm
- Terminators decanted from an accelerated matrix chamber have a full array of head, facial and body hair, and the physical appearance of a weather-beaten mid-to-late 30 year-olds.
- "The Turk"
- Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle
- Terminator Salvation
- "Automatic for the People"
- "Brothers of Nablus"
- "Allison from Palmdale"
- Text commentary from Terminator 2: Judgment Day DVD Extreme Edition
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day novelization
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