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Researchers Close To Building Shape-Shifting, Self-Healing Robots [Video]

Update Date: Jul 16, 2014 01:45 PM EDT
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Shape-shifting robots generally seen in movies could be a reality very soon, according to researchers who have reportedly created the wonder material.

According to a new study, scientists have developed a material from foam and that can transform from hard to soft states and back.

The material could allow low-cost robots to perform the same functions such as shape-shifting T-1000 robots from the movie Terminator, where the solid robot could change into a liquid state to flow through tight spaces or to self-heal itself, ValueWalk reported.

"If you're trying to squeeze under a door, for example, you should opt for a soft state, but if you want to pick up a hammer or open a window, you need at least part of the machine to be rigid," said Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mathematics at MIT, in the press release.

"This material is self-healing," Hosoi added. "So if you push it too far and fracture the coating, you can heat it and then cool it, and the structure returns to its original configuration."

Researchers are now exploring the possibilities of using other unconventional materials for robotics such as magnetorheological and electrorheological fluids.

The study is described in a new paper in the journal Macromolecular Materials and Engineering.

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