Terminator-Inspired Shape-Shifting Robot Becomes Reality. What Use Cases Does It Have in Manufacturing?


Thirty-two years after the release of Terminator 2, groundbreaking research in phase-shifting materials has made it possible for a real-life shape-shifting robot to exist. This new robot has the same ability as the T-1000 to transform into a liquid shape and pass through barriers. However, that’s where the similarities end.

The new robot was developed by a team from The Chinese University of Hong Kong under the direction of Dr. Chengfeng Pan. It is made up of a newly developed phase-shifting material researchers call “magnetoactive liquid-solid phase transitional matter,” or MPTM. Magnetic particles embedded in the material of the robot allow users to control it. This means it can be heated and cooled on demand using an alternating magnetic field to melt it into a liquid and then solidify it again.

This research is just one of the many advancements shaping the future of robotics and its use cases. Scientists are hoping that this discovery will one day be of use in a variety of fields, including medicine and assembly lines. MPTM could make it easier to solder and screw parts in hard-to-reach places, for example, but that’s hopefully just scratching the surface of its utility.

How can the manufacturing industry benefit from a shape-shifting robot? And are there any manufacturing applications where a flexible structure can make a huge difference? We reached out to Rhonda DiBachi, CEO of HeyScottie, for her expert opinion and analysis on this T-1000 tech. Rhonda has been implementing manufacturing techniques for companies since the 1980s and founded numerous startups for tech and manufacturing. 

Rhonda’s Thoughts:

“I don’t know of any manufacturing applications for this new material called MPTM or Magnetoactive Phase Transitional Matter. It’s early days. I do know of some applications of a similar kind of material called a shape memory alloy. That’s metals that change their shape depending upon changes in temperature and pressure.

I know that those are used in pneumatic and flow control systems to change valves. That’s interesting. An interesting application for this new kind of material, MPTM, I would think would be 3D printing, metal 3D printing. You could create struts using this material and when you’re building up the part you could use the struts, they would be structural.

But then when you’re done building up the part, you don’t need the struts anymore. And, if you could flip a switch and make them change their shape, they might be able to just slither out, making removal quite a bit easier than it is right now. Could be interesting.”

Article written by Sonia Gossai.

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!



public safety and security
Strengthen Public Safety and Security: Modernize Radio Communication for Better Field Response
April 11, 2024

The importance of radio communication within public safety and security operations remains unbeaten in an era dominated by digital transformation. This medium, essential for over a century, continues to be the lifeline for responders on the front lines. From ensuring the safety of field agents to facilitating real-time critical information flow and enhancing situational […]

Read More
IDC Smart Cities Awards: Edge Computing is Helping Virginia Beach Tackle its Flooding Crisis
April 11, 2024

In remote and disaster-prone areas, the rapid deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) has opened new vistas for emergency management and community safety in smart cities. These leading IoT deployments, highlighted at the recent announcement of the IDC Smart Cities Awards winners, solidified the role that edge computing […]

Read More
Next Gen 911 Sara Weston
Next Gen 911 Doesn’t Have a Final Destination, But Lack of Funding is Slowing the Adoption Journey
April 11, 2024

The transformation of emergency response systems through Next Gen 911 represents a critical evolution in public safety technology, enhancing emergency response capabilities with features like GPS tracking, live video, and real-time translation. As we move away from the outdated copper wire systems first implemented in the 1960s, the disparity between our personal devices and […]

Read More
Tax Incentives Are Key for Green Commercial Vehicle Adoption
April 11, 2024

The push toward greener logistics is gaining traction as concerns about environmental sustainability and climate change continue to grow. Traditional diesel-powered vehicles, long the backbone of the freight industry, are increasingly seen as unsustainable. The introduction of zero-emission vehicles like electric and hydrogen trucks is a promising step, but these technologies face significant barriers […]

Read More