Like a sort of miniature T-1000 Terminator cyborg, a remarkable video released today shows the Legoman-sized robot escaping from a small prison cell by dissolving into liquid to slip through bars, then transforming into its full self upon release.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing the less evolved T-800 Terminator, then uses a sawed-off shotgun to repeatedly shoot the T-1000, even severing its head, but the killing machine simply reforms and continues its rampage. chase.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have created a new type of material to successfully mimic the power of the T-1000.
The team embedded magnetic particles in gallium, which has a very low melting point of 29.8 Celsius, to create a “magnetically active solid-liquid phase transition machine.”
Magnetic particles allow you to melt and change gallium, for example, T-1000; it also increases the robot’s mobility and its ability to move.
Where traditional robots are hard-bodied and rigid, soft robots have the opposite problem; they are flexible but weak and difficult to control their movements.
But magnetized gallium—a soft, silvery metal—solves this conundrum.
“Giving robots the ability to switch between liquid and solid states gives them more functionality,” said Chengfeng Pan, an engineer and lead author of the study.
An additional video from the study showed how a gallium robot could enter someone’s stomach, melt to wrap around a marble-sized object, then reform and execute the element in seconds.
Likewise, the paper says, the robots could carry an essential drug into the stomach, liquefy, reassemble itself, and leave to release the drug rapidly.
The researchers tested the robot’s mobility and shape-shifting ability by pushing it through obstacles. This course includes jumping over trenches, climbing walls, splitting in half, moving objects together, and escaping from a prison cell.
The researchers joked that no test required the robot to kill John Connor.
The substance may also have a future in the world of engineering.
The research demonstrated how the material could work as smart soldering robots for wireless circuit assembly in hard-to-reach places.
It could also act as a screw, melting into a threaded screw socket and then solidifying.
“We’re pushing this material system into more practical ways to solve some very specific medical and engineering problems,” Pan said.