By combining the properties of metal and plastic, researchers at US university Carnegie Mellon have created a new self-healing material that could present new and exciting opportunities for soft robotics and wearable tech. The material is currently nameless and is a composite comprised of liquid metal drops suspended in an elastic polymer. These metal droplets respond to damage by forming new connections with neighboring droplets and rerouting electrical signals.
As a practical building source, the self-healing material could eventually lead to robots that could repair their skin like humans, or ultra-thin wearable tech that would not face degradation over time and exposure to the elements. Further suggested uses of the self-healing material include first responder applications, as well as inflatable architecture that could withstand the harsh environments of Mars.
Image Credit: Carnegie Mellon