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Writer Fuel: Scientists Make Robot That Can Melt and Resolidify

Little Terminator
(Image credit: Wang and Pan et al.)

Scientists have created a tiny “Terminator 2”-like robot that can melt and resolidify itself on command, enabling it to easily escape from confined spaces.

To make the phase-shifting robot, scientists embedded microscopic chunks of magnetic neodymium, boron and iron into liquid gallium (a metal with a low melting point) and left it to solidify.

And just like the spine-chilling T-1000 from “Terminator 2,” the robot has shape-shifting abilities that make it an excellent escape artist. By using magnets to command their miniature creation to melt, the researchers recorded the robot transforming into an amorphous puddle to slither through the bars of a cage before miraculously reconstituting itself on the other side. The researchers published their findings Jan 25 in the journal Matter.

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