Move Over, Robot Dogs — Robotic Slime Is on the Way

Science keeps getting weirder

The next generation of robots might be a little...slimier.
Eric Krull/Unsplash

We might not be quite at Westworld levels of robotics yet, but technology has managed to come up with robotic dogs and faces, among others. And while this probably means that we’re drawing ever-closer to a scenario spelled out in countless science fiction novels and movies, there’s still something morbidly fascinating about watching this technology evolve.

Though perhaps devolve might be a more apt choice of words for the latest technological breakthrough in the world of robotics. That would be a magnetically-controlled slime that looks less like a vertebrate and more like an amoeba — or, perhaps, the ever-present black goo that’s a recurring motif on the show Severance. (Are you watching Severance, by the way? It’s quite good.)

This news comes via Engadget, which has more details on the slime and the way it uses magnets to move and surround objects.

The Guardian reported on the slime’s creation — and quoted one unnamed observer who dubbed it a “magnetic turd.” Li Zhang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong is the co-creator of the slime, and notes that while it isn’t autonomous yet, that’s the goal.

Among the possible uses for the slime could be sending it into human digestive systems to retrieve foreign objects that could be harmful. Less dystopia, more Fantastic Voyage, perhaps. That sounds like grounds for optimism.

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