These shape-shifting devices melt and re-form thanks to magnetic fields

Shape-shifting liquid metal robots might not be limited to science fiction anymore.

Miniature machines can switch from solid to liquid and back again to squeeze into tight spaces and perform tasks like soldering a circuit board, researchers report January 25 in Matter.

This phase-shifting property, which can be controlled remotely with a magnetic field, is thanks to the metal gallium. Researchers embedded the metal with magnetic particles to direct the metal’s movements with magnets. This new material could help scientists develop soft, flexible robots that can shimmy through narrow passages and be guided externally.  

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