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Boffins create a shapeshifting robot

by on30 January 2023

None of them saw Terminator II

Boffins, who clearly don’t think seeing science fiction movies is cool, have designed a shape-shifting liquid metal that can transition between the solid and liquid state.

The new liquid is reminiscent of the liquid shapeshifting seen in 1991’s Terminator 2, and the scientists have tested it by having it escape a cage. So far it has not expressed an intention to kill Sarah Conner but that is probably only a few days away.

The scientists published a paper on the new shape-shifting liquid in the popular science magazine Matter. They created the liquid in the form of small robots, which shifted between solid and liquid states to jump, climb, and ooze out of a cage to freedom.

Magnetic fields were used to control the shape and movements of the shape-shifting liquid metal robots. In the long term they want to use magnets to help move and control the shapeshifting of the robots in biomedical and engineering technologies, things like targeted drug delivery and circuit assembly.

Magnetoactive phase transitional matter (MPTM) was built from gallium metal embedded with tiny magnetic particles and then placed the shape-shifting liquid metal robots into magnetic fields that they could control.

The ability to move between both states using magnetic fields allowed the robots made of shape-shifting liquid metal to solder circuits, remove objects from a dummy stomach, or mould themselves into universal screws.


Last modified on 30 January 2023
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