The T-1000 is a shape-shifting liquid metal robot that appeared in the film Terminator 2. Now, almost as if out of science fiction, a capable robot Switch quickly and reversibly between liquid and solid statesBut inspired not by automatons from cinema, but by sea cucumbers.
In a new study published in the journal CaseIt is detailed that these types of robots are magnetic, capable of conducting electricity and were subjected to a mobility obstacle course as well as transformation tests.
According to Changfeng Pan, an engineer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who led the study, unlike traditional robots that have a body “tough and tough“There’s a problem with soft robots like this, They are vulnerable even though they are flexibleAnd their movements are difficult to control, so giving them the ability to change from liquid to solid gives them greater functionality.
This is how the “liquid” robot works
To achieve this type of response, a new phase change material was created, named “magnetoactive solid-liquid phase transition machine“, which is magnetic particles in galliumA metal whose melting point is 29.8°C.
With these magnetic particles you can make the substance rResponding to an Alternating Magnetic Field, then it can heat the material, via induction, and cause a phase change. Furthermore, these same particles also give the robot mobility and the ability to react in the same area.
Unlike existing phase change materials, which rely on heat guns, electric currents or other external sources to induce the change, this new material consists of a liquid phase.”excessive liquid, rather than being sticky Like other options.
Before testing their applications, the dynamics and resistance of the materials were studied, where the robots jumped over pits, scaled walls and Split in half to move objects before rejoining the collaboration, and even, as this note is titled, liquefy to go through a grid in the shape of a person and find themselves again in their original form. works out.
Possible uses of this technology
The applications of this type of robot are various, mainly useful in the medical field, for example, removal of foreign objects from the stomach And administering medicines on the request of the same stomach.
However, it can also be used as intelligent welding robotAble to assemble and repair wireless circuits, maneuver into hard-to-reach places, and act as a solder and conductor.
other cases may be to use them as “universal machine screws“Picking Up the Pieces” on inaccessible materialsolidify, as it does not need to be corroded.
However, according to lead author and mechanical engineer Carmel Majidi, still need to explore How these robots can be used, and at the moment only concept tests are being conducted, and additional studies are needed to deepen their use and real applications.