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Terminator 2023: Scientists Have Made Actual Liquified Shapeshifting Robots

Terminator 2023: Scientists Have Made Actual Liquified Shapeshifting Robots

Every day we inch closer and closer to Terminator becoming less of a sci-fi and more of a documentary.

A new video published by the University of Hong Kong in the journal Matter shows a human-shaped robot escaping a jail cell by liquifying itself to slip through the bars.

Engineers have designed miniature robots that rapidly and reversibly shift between liquid and solid states. Oh, and on top of shapeshifting, the robots are also magnetic and can conduct electricity. Neat!

The researchers explained that while normal robots (is there such a thing?) are hard-bodied and stiff, soft robots have the opposite problem: Although they are flexible, they’re fairly weak and their movements can be difficult to control.

“Giving robots the ability to switch between liquid and solid states endows them with more functionality,” said Chengfeng Pan, the study’s lead engineer.

You might be thinking this all sounds familiar, and you would be right! That’s because this exact scenario is essentially what happened in Terminator 2.

Yet while James Cameron simply wanted to terrify audiences, the team of researchers believes this technology could help resolve medical and engineering problems.

To demonstrate, the researchers put the robots to a biomedical test and found the robot could remove a foreign object from a model stomach while simultaneously delivering drugs on-demand.

The researchers said they still have a long way to go before the liquid robots are in everyday use, but the technology is nearly there. Until then, you may want to have a Terminator marathon to prepare for our future.

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