Has anyone seen John Connor and made sure he is safe? As if science fiction hasn’t been rapidly becoming science-fact, scientists have created a tiny liquid metal robot that can melt itself and escape from a cage. Goody!
A miniature, shape-shifting robot can liquefy itself and reform, allowing it to complete tasks in hard-to-access places and even escape cages. It could eventually be used as a hands-free soldering machine or a tool for extracting swallowed toxic items.
Robots that are soft and malleable enough to work in narrow, delicate spaces like those in the human body already exist, but they can’t make themselves sturdier and stronger when under pressure or when they must carry something heavier than themselves. Carmel Majidi at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania and his colleagues created a robot that can not only shape-shift but also become stronger or weaker by alternating between being a liquid and a solid.
Metal robot can melt its way out of tight spaces to escape https://t.co/CPCm7JePCx
— Rob Mattox (@RobMattox2) January 30, 2023
Science has been tinkering in Gods back yard for almost as long as there has been science, but the recent advancements in artificial intelligence, and now a shape shifting liquid metal tiny Terminator leads one to think that perhaps James Cameron’s iconic Terminator movie series was perhaps a documentary that we are trying to fulfill. Science is cloning organs, making meat in a lab, creating hyper intelligent robots with human emotion, and in a move I think we all know ends poorly, have been injecting human brain cells into monkeys. Probably won’t be long before super smart apes on horseback are whipping the few left of us into submission. Fine with me, maybe the apes can fight the Terminator and Cyberdyne Systems.
There are currently two approaches to building robots. There are strong and agile bots made from rigid materials like metal or carbon fiber, and there are bots made from softer, malleable materials that sacrifice strength for the ability to squeeze and wiggle their way into more places. This robot takes a best of both worlds approach, and was inspired by sea cucumbers, whose squishy bodies can easily squeeze through narrow places but then go rigid in mere seconds using enzymes that cause protein fibers to bind together.
To be fair, the technology is being created to aid humanity, not end it, but isn’t that how it always ends? Skynet wasn’t designed to eradicate humans, and the apes weren’t made super smart with enslaving humans in mind. Actually, I think we wanted to enslave them so we kind of got what we deserved on that one. It will be interesting to see where this technology goes, but if researchers start applying super smart artificial intelligence to liquid metal robots, I’m out of here. John Connor is on his own.
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