It sounds like science fiction, but it’s real. Currently in the laboratory phase, a group of researchers from Soochow University in Taiwan has created a liquid robot. One that can be shaped, divided and rebuilt in its entirety.
This liquid robot was created with tiny droplets of a magnetic substance. Its full size, without cavities, is a maximum of one centimeter. More specifically, it was created with magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. They were then suspended in oil. Ultimately this means that this ferrous fluid may have a soft composition.
It is this composition that, in fact, allows this small device to modify its structure in order to go to the precise point indicated. You can avoid almost any obstacle in your way. At least that is the intention of the research team behind it.
To control its movement, the research team took advantage of the composition of the liquid robot itself. With a spherical magnet set the energy is kept in this small device. These devices also allow him to move and change his shape depending on the situation.
As can be seen in the video posted by Sciences the little liquid robot splits into a swarm and assembles itself. In the case of the example, his ability is tested in a maze, analyzing all possible paths and then merging.
The uses of a liquid robot
The options available for this liquid robot are enormous. They are related to soft robot research, but the research team has two on the table. On the one hand, in laboratory tests to test and create chemical reactions in clinical trials. Especially in research with viruses or microscopic elements.
However, it is in its medical use that the research team insisted the most. a liquid robot could be the solution for the localized administration of drugs in humans. The machine could contain the patient’s medication, which, once ingested, could be directed to the point where it needs to be inoculated. Its small size and its ability to adapt to the necessary shape and avoid obstacles would allow it to flow through the arteries or capillaries of the human body. And then reach specific organs or tissues.
Another use could be to remove blood clots in the brain that cause strokes, although creating a magnetic field strong enough to precisely move the robot inside the brain is a challenge.
However, the research team still has some important questions to answer. In addition to its scalability and price. The small size of the liquid robot makes it difficult to transport the necessary doses of medication for the patient in question. Likewise, the magnetic system necessary to maintain remote control of the machine, which must be powerful enough to make it through the tissues of the human body.