Chinese Test Self Printing Robots

3D PrintingPrinting parts for a weapon is one thing – and there’s ample proof-of-concept about to show that 3D printers will only get better at that. But how about a weapon that at least in part builds itself?

Chinese scientists say they have found a way to produce liquid metals that self-assemble into various shapes and forms, according to a report in the London-based technology site The Register. Scientists at Tsinghua University and The Chinese Academy of Sciences say they can use electrical charges to manipulate liquid metal alloys they manufactured.

So far, the alloys have taken on spherical shapes that move and rotate and, by using electrical current, they have caused separate droplets of the metals to fuse together into larger sphere shapes, officials said.

“Such liquid metal transformers and locomotors could provide on-demand use given specific designing,” The Register quotes from the scientists’ paper.

The Chinese scientists say the technology will eventually lead to creating more complex liquid metal objects, from 3D modeling units to “soft” robots.

Last year Apple filed at least five liquid metal patents that it expects to use in the manufacture of its products.

About the Author

Bryant Jordan
Bryant Jordan is an associate editor and White House correspondent for Military.com. Bryant covers all corners of the military arena, is an expert on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" issues, religious proselytizing and other ongoing military policy issues. He has covered Air Force support missions during the Kosovo War and in 2006 the aero-medical evacuation mission out of Balad Air Base, Iraq.A journalist since 1979, Jordan also covered stories in Lebanon, Gaza and Morocco. During the Vietnam War he was assigned to 15th Admin. Co., 1st Cavalry Division, Bien Hoa Army Base. Before joining Military.com Jordan was a staff writer and deputy news editor for Military Timesnewspapers in Springfield, Va.

14 Comments on "Chinese Test Self Printing Robots"

  1. So now robots wont need Chinese labor??? Its going to get real cheap at the 99 cents store.

    All these years James Cameron got it wrong Skynet isn't American, USAF isn't the bad guy. China gets the world blown up, LOL

  2. In other news the Pentagon is testing a new type of soldier who does not mind having his pay and benefits cut. "They ain't too smart, but hell we don't intend to have many of em anyway" –explained a Pentagon Spokesman.

  3. That scientist in the picture sure doesn't look Chinese….

  4. Grey goo incoming.

  5. Ah don't worry those chinese are just 19th 20th century throwbacks, using gov money to push the evil military industrial complex and their schools to produce science and math for the evil military complex.

    We are much more enlightened here in the US with our food stamps, legal drugs, beer cheaper than water, and "freedom from work" for the adults. We are raising our enlightened children with 1. sex ed, 2. humanities aka anti morals anti-right-wrong, 3. man is killer of earth/nature/global warming propaganda for science, and then math ahh math we have common core were children learn math by drawing box stacks that take half a page.

    Pitiful, sad, embarrassing, and infuriating all at once.

  6. Let the Clone Army begin………

  7. Sounds like the future, doesn't it? A piece of material transforms itself down to the nano level into a useful object.

    Or the Chinese propose this to prompt the West to advance the technology, at which time the Chinese can copy it.

  8. You always have to laugh at defense techs lack of technology knowledge. Apples liquid metals have nothing to do with the Chinese liquid metals used for actuators, neither have anything to do with 3D printing and neither has much to do with military applications.

    But as science education and basic research rapidly decreases in the US such stories mixing up basic technologies and with a dash of magical thinking are the future.

  9. Seems like all these old science fiction movies are coming to reality.
    Terminator reloaded folks
    It has begun…

  10. Uhm… "Chinese test self-printing robots"? Reads more like "Chinese test assembling spheres of liquid metal into larger spheres of liquid metal". Still got a LONG way to go to what the headline claims with what the technology does, from what I understand.

  11. It is inevitable that we will eventually share this planet with machines that are smarter than we are. Where it goes from there is hard to say. There is nothing magical about our analog brains. Silicon/Quantum brains will surpass them.

  12. This is might not be a great idea. Science Fiction has many examples of self replicating robots. I didn't like the ending of most of those stories.

    But, like most ideas in good science fiction, probably inevitable!

  13. Is that where obama came from?

  14. Yeast Infection | March 6, 2014 at 9:38 am | Reply

    So now we just get random headlines that don't appear to be substantiated by anything in the article? I'm not sure how making small lumps of metal stick together to make bigger lumps of metal equates to a "self printing robot". Less National Enquirer and more Defense Tech please.

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