Do you remember watching Terminator 2? In the movie Sarah Connor and her ten year old son John are pursued by a new, more advanced Terminator: The liquid metal, shapeshifting which is sent back in time to kill John Connor and prevent him from becoming the leader of the human resistance. Although the T-1000 was able to programme 3D Liquid Metal, scientists have created the first ever liquid metal that is programmable and shapeshifting.

A research that was conducted at the University of Swansea and Sussex University has successfully managed to programme liquid metal into various 2D shapes by applying electrical charges. While being in the early stages of the research the scientists said that the findings represent a new type of materials that are extremely promising, which could be programmed to change shapes endlessly. The scientists went on to say that this research would be used to open new possibilities in the field of semi-soft robotics along with displays that are able to change in shape.

Yutaka Tokuda, a team member working on this research-project at the Sussex UniversitY, had this to say regarding the revolutionary project:

“This is a new class of programmable materials in a liquid state which can dynamically transform from a simple droplet shape to many other complex geometry in a controllable manner.

While this work is in its early stages, the compelling evidence of detailed 2D control of liquid metals excites us to explore more potential applications in computer graphics, smart electronics, soft robot. The electric fields used to shape the liquid are created by a computer, meaning that the position and shape of the liquid metal can be programmed and controlled dynamically.”

Professor Sriram Subramanian, INTERACT Lab head at the University of Sussex, added:

“Liquid metals are an extremely promising class of materials for deformable applications; their unique properties include voltage-controlled surface tension, high liquid-state conductivity and liquid-solid phase transition at room temperature.

One of the long-term visions of us and many other researchers is to change the physical shape, appearance and functionality of any object through digital control to create intelligent, dexterous and useful objects that exceed the functionality of any current display or robot.”

When you learn about such a revolutionary discovery as in this case, you would like to know who is the Big Boss behind the research, Right?

After doing some investigation to find out who is funding this, it gets a little complex. The firm known as EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded this project. They are an English Research Council that provides government funding for developing projects such as artificial intelligence, quantum computers, and the fields of science/mathematics.

This institution is controlled by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – And according to Wikipedia:

“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is a government department, which was created by Theresa May on 14 July 2016 following her appointment as Prime Minister, created as a result of a merger between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. BEIS will bring together responsibility for business, industrial strategy, and science and innovation with energy and climate change policy, merging the functions of the former BIS and DECC.”

So at the very top you have the UK Government which is in charge. Hopefully, this time people from all over the world will have access to this technology in the future.

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T2: Liquid Metal

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