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What Are Shape-Shifting Robots?

Inspired by the sea cucumber’s ability to melt on demand, these small-scale machines can phase-change from solid to liquid — then back again.

Shape-shifting robots are reconfigurable machines capable of changing their physical state in response to an external stimulus. They’re made up of phase-changing materials, like magnetic metallic alloys, which enable them to morph from a solid to a liquid, and vice versa, when exposed to external changes.

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