A team of eggheads at MIT are working with Boston Dynamics to develop next-generation shapeshifting robots built from simple materials like wax and foam. Not quite like Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat, these pliable contraptions possess the ability to squish into smalls spaces, while maintaining their durability. So don’t worry about these machines stealing your identity just yet. To change shape, these low-cost robots use embedded wiring to heat and contort specific parts of their waxy builds.
Still in its infancy, the idea is to use these robots in several real-world scenarios, like squeezing into a collapsed structure too tight for rescue workers to fit inside of or a small incisions for an invasive surgical procedure. While these developments aren’t exactly the liquid metal nightmare that tormented Arnold Schwarzenegger and young Edward Furlong in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, they’re the foundation for what could one day be mankind’s savior or captor, depending on who you ask.