Liquid Metal Robots are Being Developed in China

Kristan T. Harris | The Rundown Live

termTerminator 2: Judgement Day was a 1991 box office hit that changed science fiction. The movies plot was based around a liquid robot that could form into any needed shape or individual and often seeming indestructible.

Now, Chinese researchers are developing a shape-shifting liquid-metal alloy droid, similar to the Terminator 2 robot in Judgement Day (minus homicidal tendencies).

“The soft machine looks rather intelligent and [can] deform itself according to the space it voyages in, just like [the] Terminator does from the science-fiction film,” says Jing Liu from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. “These unusual behaviors  perfectly resemble the living organisms in nature,” he said, also suggesting this may raise controversy over the definition of life.

Taro Toyota of the University of Tokyo believes the discovery may help transform chemical energy to mechanical energy in future liquid robots.

“Such liquid robots will be a seed of artificial life seen in some movies,” he says. “I would raise Flubber instead of Terminator 2.”


The New Scientist published the technology could be used to surf the blood stream and deliver materials through pipes:

“The work is part of a long-term effort to create intelligent robots that are non-rigid and so can be reshaped on the fly, a bit like the fictional T-1000. Liu says a robot based on their device could soon be used to monitor the environment or deliver materials within pipes and even blood vessels.”

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