A Terminator-like robot has been made which can melt down and rebuild itself like the T-1000.
Scientists have created a liquid metal robot that can ooze between metal bars like the T-1000. As Vice reports, the future of 1991 is now a reality. All kidding aside, a real-life Terminator-like robot like the one Robert Patrick played in Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a frightening concept.
Carmel Majidi, head of the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, admits that the evil Terminator was on his mind when the robot was conceived. “It’s almost T-1000-like in the sense that you have that figurine, and it melts into a blob, and it gets sucked through those jail bars,” said Majidi when describing a video posted to YouTube. The video in question demonstrates the robot’s ability to go from a solid to a liquid state in order to escape a jail cell, reminiscent of a similar scene in T2.
The Terminator robot is made of gallium, a metal with a low melting point that is then embedded with tiny magnetic microparticles. The combination of the two substances is known as magnetoactive phase transitional matter or MPTM and has a lot of potential uses that don’t include murder, or at least that’s what scientists want us to believe.
Researchers have used alternating magnetic fields to get the robot to solder circuits and mold itself into a universal screw. The robot even successfully removed foreign objects from a dummy stomach. It achieved all these tasks presumably with the cold, single-minded determination of a Terminator robot.
It’s the last instance of removing foreign objects from inside the human body, where the robot’s true potential is realized. These MPTM Terminator-like robots could revolutionize the field of biomedicine. Being able to shapeshift so seamlessly between liquid and solid means the robot could deliver medicine to specific organs and extract hazardous objects from the body.
A toddler swallowing a handful of pennies will no longer be the parental scare it once was. Soon parents will be able to feed their little ones a robot roughly the size of a Lego Minifigure and let it retrieve the coins. It might be hard to accept the idea of a tiny droid spelunking in your child’s innards looking for cash, but that’s exactly the future this robot promises.
There’s no word yet on what James Cameron thinks of the Terminator robot, so clearly inspired by his T-1000. Given that Cameron believes in pushing the envelope technologically as he did with the computer effects in Terminator 2 and Avatar, it’s probably safe to say he’d be thrilled. Presumably, Robert Patrick would be equally pleased to know that his portrayal of a heartless, violent, liquid metal killing machine inspired scientists to make one in real life.
A liquid metal machine, that is. It remains to be seen if the MPTM robot will exhibit any of the other characteristics of the evil terminator. To find that out, we’ll have to wait until the machines inevitably gain sentience sometime in the next decade or so. In the meantime, we can watch this robot morph from solid to liquid and back and marvel at how far technology has come.
Still no flying cars yet, though.