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you remember the movie Terminator 2 where one o the robots escaped imprisonment by turning into liquid? Must have thought that science fiction movie are so far-fetched, yet here we are today where this technology has been developed. Researchers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong have developed tiny, humanoid robots that can change shape and condense into a liquid. The discovery may make it possible to develop additional robots that can switch between being solid and liquid, expanding their use.

Researchers used one of the robots to turn liquid so that it could escape from a tiny jail, which was used to show its capabilities. In earlier demonstrations, the robots were able to climb walls, jump over moats, and split in half to act as a pair to move things before coming back together.

They can carry electricity and are magnetic, which makes it possible to manipulate them.

“Now, we’re pushing this material system in more practical ways to solve some very specific medical and engineering problems,” said Chengfeng Pan, an engineer at The Chinese University of Hong Kong who led the study.

Chengfeng Pan, an engineer at The Chinese University of Hong Kong who led the study.

Have a look at this video showing the capabilities of these humanoid robots and how one of them managed to escape a prison cell by turning itself into liquid and back to its original form.

For instance, researchers explored inserting medications after removing a foreign item from a model stomach using the robots. They also demonstrated how it might be used to ooze into circuits before they were assembled and repaired. They also demonstrated how to use it on difficult-to-reach fasteners.

“Future work should further explore how these robots could be used within a biomedical context. What we’re showing are just one-off demonstrations, proofs of concept, but much more study will be required to delve into how this could actually be used for drug delivery or for removing foreign objects.”

Carmel Majidi, from Carnegie Mellon University, who also contributed to the work.

Such material can have multiple uses, but the intent of the researchers has been to produce a material that is capable to self-heal and regenerate by changing it’s form, through the change of body temperature.

Numerous studies are being done on materials that can self-heal after being damaged as potential contenders for the creation of a sustainable society. However, because to the mutual exclusion of large moduli and diffusion rates, it is difficult to develop materials that have both great mechanical robustness and good healing capacity. This work has successfully achieved self-repairing in mechanically strong metallic materials close to body temperature. It was inspired by biological self-healing method. Heterophasic metals have significant structural similarities to biological cells.

As a result, using a similar biological process, the damaged sample can be completely restored. Furthermore, using metal phase diagrams, temperature and composition may be used to accurately regulate the mechanical self-healing behavior of heterophasic metals.

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