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Scientists have taken an important step in the journey towards T-1000 style liquid metal robots.
A research team from Tsinghua University in Beijing has developed a simple self-powered liquid motor.
This liquid "machine" is created from a metal alloy - mostly gallium with some tin and indium - that is liquid at 30C. When it's put into a caustic soda or regular salt water solution it can move around for about an hour - using a flake of aluminium for fuel.
In related research, the same team has been able to get the gallium alloy to form complex shapes when an electrical current is applied. By combining this technique with the new research, the team could create a moving drop that could change speed or even move in a swarm with other drops.
The near-term plan is for non-rigid robots that could deliver materials through pipes or even blood vessels.