Science

This liquid-liquid robot is reminiscent of the T-1000, the liquid machine from Terminator 2.

Remember that legendary scene from the movie Terminator 2 when the liquid steel villain walks through the bars of the screen door. This is the same scene that was recreated by a team of Chinese and American researchers (see video) who published their craft in the January 25, 2023 issue of Matter magazine.

Gallium figurine stuffed with magnetic particles

Here their T-1000 is interpreted by a gallium figurine in which magnetic particles have been incorporated. The interest of this metal lies in its very low melting point of 29.8°C. When combined with magnetic particles, metal becomes very interesting because it reacts to magnetic fields in two ways. First, by changing the magnetic field and, depending on the induction process, the material can be remotely heated and softened at room temperature. Moreover, even thanks to the embedded particles, it becomes able to respond to a magnetic field and move.

The team believes that this hybrid machine, capable of assuming two different states, will be the solution for today’s mini-robots. Which are either very flexible, but very fragile. Or much more resistant, but too hard. But before exploring all the potential uses for their creature, the researchers tested its stability and mobility with a series of Olympiad-worthy tests. Cross ditches, climb walls, and even split into two to be able to move objects before regrouping as one!

This robot can be used to deliver drugs to the stomach

More seriously, at least from a medical point of view, the researchers used their robot to remove a foreign object from a model stomach. They also demonstrated that it could deliver drugs to the same stomach.

And his competence is not limited to this. Indeed, in the same paper, the team demonstrated that their robot could assemble and even repair electrical circuits as a current conductor. And thus play the role of mobile electric welding for very hard-to-reach places.

There is no doubt that if this robot delivers as much as it promises, future applications will not stop for this multifunctional mini T-1000…

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