A slimy turd-like robot could one day be used to grab objects inside the body, according to a new report published Friday by The Guardian. The device is a creation of Professor Li Zhang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The slime can move controlled by magnets, surround and pick up things in C or O shapes, and even inter-connect electrodes together. “The ultimate goal is to use it like a robot,” Zhang told The Guardian. “We still consider it basic research trying to understand its material properties.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, the researcher revealed that slime behaves very differently depending on how you approach it. “If you touch it very fast, it behaves like a solid. If you touch it gently & slowly, it behaves like a liquid,” Zhang said.
How is it-made? It consists of a mixture of a polymer called polyvinyl alcohol, borax & neodymium magnetic particles, which are responsible for the attraction leads to slime movements.
“It’s very similar to mixing water with corn starch at home,” Zhang added.
The researcher points out that it could be used inside human body (in the digestive tract). However, there is a risk that the magnetic particles in the slime are toxic.
Still too toxic
To solve this problem, Zhang & his team coated the slime with a layer of silica. They hope this will create a protective layer that prevents toxic particles from interacting with the human body. However, they still note that the substance could not remain in the body for long.
“Safety would also depend largely on how long you keep them inside your body,” Zhang concluded. Although it is a cool invention to look at, in reality it cannot serve any true purpose in human body until its toxic properties are completely removed.
The study published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Functional Materials.