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Real-Life T-1000, Shape-Shifting Humanoid: Revolutionary Liquid Metal to Fulfill Sci-Fi Fantasy

Aug 08, 2016 04:30 AM EDT
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Imagine having the terrifying yet incredible shape-shifting T-1000 terminator from the movie 'Terminator 2' in reality. Now, scientists from Australia claim the lethal innovation may one day be possible.

The fictional T-1000, made of liquid metal, can take on many shapes and can repair itself from any damage.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at RMIT University in Australia explain how they are setting the foundation towards building elastic electronics and possibly building a 3D liquid metal humanoid.

According to the study, to date, there has been no research about the effect of electrolyte ionic content surrounding a liquid metal for symmetry breaking that generates motion.

In lieu with this, the scientists moved away from the usual solid state electronics and experimented with liquid metals, consisting of non-toxic alloys of gallium.

Because liquid metals have very low melting points and are liquid at room temperature, they are capable of fulfilling self-propulsion criteria and are outstanding platforms for makeshift mechanical components.

In the study, the researchers determined how liquid metals could move autonomously by exposing drops of gallium to water and changing the water's acid, base and salt levels.

The experiment showed the highly conductive metal moved by itself and even changed shape.

"Putting droplets in another liquid with an ionic content can be used for breaking symmetry across them and allow them to move about freely in three dimensions, but so far we have not understood the fundamentals of how liquid metal interacts with surrounding fluid," Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, a professor in the school of engineering at RMIT University, said in a press release.

The liquid metal did this without any need for external, mechanical, electronic or optical stimulants.

"Using this discovery, we were able to create moving objects, switches and pumps that could operate autonomously-self-propelling liquid metals driven by the composition of the surrounding fluid," he added.

The study says they key to integrating liquid metals successfully into products is being able to control its motion and shape. And this is what the scientists exactly did.

"Eventually, using the fundamentals of this discovery, it may be possible to build a 3D liquid metal humanoid on demand - like the T-1000 Terminator but with better programming," Kalantar-Zadeh said.

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