We have mentioned before that scientists are unwilling, or unable, to just stop making Terminators already. We’re looking at you, Boston Dynamics. But they’re not the only people building Terminators. Why, over in China, they’re hard at work on a T-1000!
Admittedly, this is just a baby T-1000. Technically it’s a “liquid metal motor.” But watch this video and try not to get that anvil-heavy theme in your head:
The good news is this little droplet won’t be killing you. Well, not yet, anyway. The droplet is an alloy of gallium, indium and tin, and it’s in a sodium hydroxide solution, although standard brine will also do. It’s an interesting mix because, as it turns out, this creates a charge imbalance in the droplet where there’s less pressure in front of the drop. Slap on a flake of aluminum for fuel, and the aluminum reacts, creating bubbles, which in turn creates enough pressure behind the drop to push it forward. The “fuel” lasts for about an hour, and the droplet is able to make turns, squeeze through complex shapes, and generally be a bit too much like what we saw in Terminator 2.
This doesn’t really have any application yet; the research team at Tsinghua University stumbled across the effect by mistake and right now, it’s mostly fodder for cool internet videos and for bloggers to make the same repetitive jokes about Terminators. But we’re sure somebody will find a use for it, especially when the metal can eventually propel itself through air.