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Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

By Jin Dan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-09-01 14:40

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

Liu Jing, leader of the research team on liquid metal. [File photo from web]

The liquid metal machine invented by Chinese scientists and once praised as T-1000 robot in sci-fi thriller Terminator now can "jump" and "run", according to an article posted by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on its WeChat account on Wednesday.

It briefed about the new discoveries on liquid metal made by a joint team of scientists from CAS and Tsinghua University that were published in global academic journals this year.

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

T-1000 robot in Terminator 2 Judgement Day. [Photo from web]

One of their academic papers titled "Liquid Metal Machine Triggered Violin-like Wire Oscillator" appeared as the cover story in the Aug 17 issue of Advanced Science.

The paper discovered that the first-ever oscillation phenomenon of a copper wire embracing inside a self-powered liquid metal machine. When the copper wire contacted the liquid metal, it would be swallowed inside and then reciprocally move back and forth, just like a violin bow.

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

Cover of the Aug 17 issue of Advanced Science and the illustration of he oscillation phenomenon of a copper wire embracing inside a self-powered liquid metal machine.[Photo from CAS's WeChat account]

Before this, liquid metal machine all appeared in liquid state so technical breakthroughs in combination with a solid metal and new discoveries on oscillation can give a boost to research and development of flexible machines.

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

Traces of the jumping liquid metal droplet.[Photo from CAS's WeChat account]

In the paper titled "Jumping Liquid Metal Droplet in Electrolyte Triggered by Solid Metal Particles" appearing in the June 2 issue of Applied Physics Letter, the scientists made an interesting finding on the "jumps" of liquid metal, in which the researchers explained the cause of electron discharge effect between the two.

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

Cover of the Aug 28 issue of Journal of Materials Chemistry B and the illustrations of the research finding about self-propelled liquid metal motors.[Photo from CAS's WeChat account]

Another recent paper appearing as the cover story of Journal of Materials Chemistry B published on Aug 28 is about the finding of "Self-Propelled Liquid Metal Motors Steered by Magnetic or Electrical Field for Drug Delivery".

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

Movements of both vihicles with one transformable wheel and four transformable wheels.[Photo from CAS's WeChat account]

The team also invented a mini vehicle with transformable wheels made out of liquid metal droplet through 3D printing. Their findings on "Liquid Metal Wheeled Small Vehicle for Cargo Delivery" appeared in the June 6 issue of RSC Advances.

In recent years, the team has been working hard on the application and industrialization of liquid metal. "We are lucky to rank at the front of this field but we can't afford the industrial development lagging the academic research. We should seize the historical opportunity to build a world-class liquid metal valley in China," said Liu Jing, the leader of the team.

Terminator-like liquid metal machine now can 'jump' and 'run'

Cover of an issue of Avanced Materials published last year and illustrations of its findings. [Photo from web] 

Last year, when the team published its finding about liquid metal machines that can "eat" substances and then propel itself like a self-fueled motor on Advanced Materials journal, it attracted great attention from across the world and was labeled as real life Terminator.

But scientists said there is still a long way to bring that kind of transformable robot into reality.

 

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