Robots made of liquid metal? It seems Arnold’s Swarzenegger’s famous line from The Terminator is coming true.
Instead of scary cyborgs from Skynet though, it’s something a little less worrisome from the University of Wollongong.
Researchers there have developed a new way of incorporating liquid metal into electronic and robotic devices, creating a flexible material that is also electrically conductive.
Their composite, made partially of liquid metal microparticles, becomes more conductive as it is bent or manipulated.
That makes it particularly useful for wearable and other smart devices that are required to attach around the body or move mechanically.
Existing materials generally become less conductive under such conditions, reducing device performance and battery life.
Researcher Dr Shiyang Tang says the discovery came as a surprise.
“When we accidentally stretched a sample while we were measuring its resistance, we surprisingly found that the resistance reduced dramatically,” Dr Tang says.
“The increase in conductivity when the material is deformed or a magnetic field is applied are properties we believe are unprecedented.”
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