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We’re Doomed: Scientists Have Invented Shapeshifting Liquid Metal, the T-1000 Draws Near

Come with me if you want to live joke nervously and await our demise.

Terminator 2 Motorcycle Cop T-1000 (1)

Because science won’t be happy until we’ve all been enslaved by our robot overlords, eaten by dinosaurs, and reanimated as zombies, researchers have made another breakthrough in bringing your nightmares to life and created shapeshifting metal. And here you were worried that we’d all be embarrassingly defeated by lowly T-800 models.

Researchers from North Carolina state university just weren’t happy with the fact that their liquid metal had a tendency to ball up into little, non-murderous spheres due to its high surface tension. So, they found a way to use an electric charge to change the surface tension and allow the liquid metal to flow into an amorphous blob of impending doom. But that wasn’t enough for them, either. They also found that reversing the polarity of the charge would reverse the effect and return the metal to its original, rigid state.


The polymimetic gallium and indium liquid metal alloy doesn’t even need a very large electrical charge to undergo the change, so don’t go hoping the machines will need impractically powerful electrical sources to pull off their shapeshifting trick. The alloy’s surface tension changed with a charge of less than one volt.

They can even use electrical current to control the shape and movement of the alloy, as you can see in their not at all deliberately creepy video demonstration (complete with vaguely tense Final Fantasy VII music):

On the one hand, this is some really amazing science that could help with building adaptable electronics. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that’s how we wind up with Skynet and nope, shut it down. Don’t do it, science. Don’t.



(via Gizmodo, image via Terminator 2)

Previously in science will be the death of us all

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.