Chinese Scientists Create Metal-Eating, Self-Powered Machines

Mar 31, 2015 at 2:40 pm |
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terminator t1000 chinese scientists metal eating

Coming soon to destroy a city near you… (Photo by Frazer Harrison/ Getty Images)

As with all new technology, you probably either love it or are deeply terrified by it. We’re still not sure how we feel about the latest innovation coming from these Chinese scientists.

A group of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the medical school at Tsinghua University have developed liquid metal machines that can consume metal and then use the harvested power to self propel.

Harmless science experiment today, apocalypse-heralding robot tomorrow (à la Terminator).

According to the scientists, who published their work in the Advanced Materials journal, the small machines “ate” aluminum, forming a liquid metal ball about five millimeters wide that was then able to move in solutions at a rate of about two inches per second for over an hour.

The power for locomotion comes from the electrochemical reaction between the liquid metal and the aluminum, as well as the electrolyte solution it’s all placed in. The reaction produces hydrogen bubbles that can propel the machine forward through a variety of miniature test courses.

The researchers described the “biomimetic mollusks” as being “highly self-adaptive,” stating that they were able to conform to the shape of the space it they’re placed in.

Advanced, shape-shifting objects? All that’s missing is the artificial intelligence, and then it’ll be ‘hasta la vista, baby’ for all of us.

This video is awesome, by the way:


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Harmless science experiment today, world-dominating machine tomorrow. Do these scientists even know what they’ve created?