Terminator technology in real life: Scientists develop stretchable liquid metal

Terminator Stretchable liquid metal
Journal Applied Materials and Interfaces

'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' is one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of Hollywood, and this film featured the antagonist T-1000 with shapeshifting abilities. Now, a new study published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces has revealed that this technology may soon come to real life, as a team of scientists has developed a 'Terminator-like liquid metal' that has the capability of stretching vertically and horizontally. Interestingly, the liquid metal can also change shapes, as per the container it holds.

The research report revealed that liquid metals like gallium, when mixed with iron or nickel, gets the ability to manipulate into different shapes with the use of magnets.

This is not the first time that researchers have created bendable metals. In several previous studies, certain metals that are liquid at room temperature including gallium can be easily stretchable horizontally due to high surface tensions. These liquid metals should be also immersed in water to avoid the formation of a paste.

To avoid this problem, researchers led by Liang Hu added nickel and iron into gallium, and thus the surface tension was successfully lowered to a great extent. Using this technique, scientists stretched the metal droplets to almost four times its original length, and they even manipulated its shape using a magnet.

"Moreover, the vertically stretched MLMD (magnetic liquid metal droplet) can move horizontally with its half body in the solution and the other half in the air, which resembles the nature of an upright walking amphibian. MLMD presents a fundamental and promising platform for the liquid metals to further develop the multi-freedom actuation in free space and eventually lead to the dynamically reconfigurable intelligent and biomimetic soft robots in the future," wrote the researchers in the study's abstract.

A few months back, researchers at the University of Tokyo successfully integrated living muscular tissues in robots, and these implanted muscular tissues showed remarkable movements for more than a week.

Developments like these have made many people believe that James Cameron's wid futuristic fantasies depicted in 'Terminator' may soon become reality in the coming years.