Phase-Changing Material Could Allow Low-Cost Deformable Surgical Robots
In the movie 'Terminator 2,' the shape-shifting T-1000 robot morphs into a liquid state to squeeze through tight spaces or to repair itself when harmed. Now a phase-changing material built from wax and foam, and capable of switching between hard and soft states, could allow even low-cost robots to perform the same feat. The material, developed at MIT, could be used to build deformable surgical robots. The robots could move through the body to reach a particular point without damaging any of the organs or vessels along the way. Robots built from the material could also be used in search-and-rescue operations to squeeze through rubble looking for survivors.