ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

We're still a long-way off from getting close to even creating a T-800 from the original Terminator, however very small progress is being made in developing the seemingly more advanced T-1000 liquid metal Terminator! Well... Kind of...

Scientists at North Carolina State University have developed a special liquid metal which can be manipulated into various shapes before reassembling itself into its original blob. The researchers applied less than one volt of electricity to the alloy, which consists of the metals gallium and indium, therefore decreasing the surface tension and allowing the metal to flatten out and be manipulated with electrical currents. Check out the video below to see it in motion:

There is of course, a whole lot more science going on than meets the eye, and I fear my layman's explanation will simply confuse you even more - as if the science isn't already confusing enough.

Here's the official, fact-filled explanation of what's going on:

Liquid metals have very large surface tension and therefore typically adopt a spherical shape. Surfactants, like soap, can lower the interfacial tension between two dissimilar liquids (for example, water and oil), but have negligible impact on the large interfacial tensions of liquid metal. Unlike conventional surfactants, the approach here can tune the interfacial tension of a metal significantly (from ~7x that of water to near zero), rapidly, and reversibly using only modest voltages. These properties can be harnessed to induce new electrohydrodynamic phenomena for manipulating liquid metal alloys based on gallium, which may enable shape-reconfigurable metallic components in electronic, electromagnetic, and microfluidic devices without the use of toxic mercury. The results also suggest that oxides—which are ubiquitous on most metals and semiconductors—may be harnessed to lower interfacial energy between dissimilar materials.

Oh right. Yeah, that totally all makes sense to me now...

Of course, the researchers are still along way off turning the liquid into a full-blown T-1000. For one thing, they have yet to imbue the alloy with an unstoppable desire to kill a specific child...

Fly a helicopter...

Or take a shotgun blast to the face...

Surely, it's only a matter of time?


Will we see intelligent robots in our lifetime?

Source: EliteDaily

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