A liquid metal with a self-propelled motor similar to the T-1000, which the shape is shifting robot featured in the movie Terminator 2, is being developed by Scientists.
Researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China are developing this breakthrough innovation in more ways than one. This marks the first liquid metal shape shifting robot by also giving it the ability to power itself apart from its shape shifting properties.
Just like what the Terminator does in the Hollywood sci-fi film, this soft machine appears rather intelligent and can transform itself depending on the space it occupies, according to Jing Liu from the Tsinghua University This unusual behavior in robots perfectly resembles how living organisms react or function in their own habitat.
The motor, made from galinstan, is an alloy derived from gallium and possesses a melting point of 85.57 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists believe that since galinstan is made from 68.5 percent gallium, 10 percent tin and 21.5 percent indium, the melting point of the alloy turns galinstan into liquid form at room temperature.
Scientists were also amazed when they discovered that when a single drop of the metal alloy is mixed with a sodium hydroxide solution along with a connection with the aluminum flake that the alloy uses as fuel, the liquid metal can generate movement on its own for a period of 30 minutes.
The scientific team claims this special alloy can be applicable to many fields like moving liquid with a cooling apparatus without the use of an external power source. Liu adds this alloy can also be used to observe the environment and deliver material via pipelines or even substances through blood vessels.
When the alloy has electricity applied to, the gallium can alter into complex shapes and sizes until it turns back into its normal shape when the electric current halts. Using different techniques, Liu says this can be used to change the velocity of the galinstan drops or coordinate independent drops all together.
The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials.