Scientists Have Created Programmable Shape-Shifting Liquid Metal!

Researchers at the University of Sussex and Swansea University have applied electrical charges to manipulate liquid metal into 2D shapes such as letters and a heart. The team says the findings represent an “extremely promising” new class of materials that can be programmed to seamlessly change shape. This open up new possibilities in ‘soft robotics’ and shape-changing displays, the researcher say.

the creation of 3D shapes is still some way off. More immediate applications could include reprogrammable circuit boards and conductive ink.

The electric fields used to shape the liquid are created by a computer, meaning that the position and shape of the liquid metal can be programmed and controlled dynamically.

www.thescicademy.com/2018/03/scientists-have-created-programmable.html

The team says the findings represent an “extremely promising” new class of materials that can be programmed to seamlessly change shape. This open up new possibilities in ‘soft robotics’ and shape-changing displays, the researcher say.

phys.org/news/2017-10-liquid-metal-soft-robotics-closer.html

Researchers at Swansea University and the University of Sussex have invented ways to use liquid metal to create tactile effects and display physical shapes.

The scientists applied electrical charges to manipulate liquid metal, using pulses and movement of droplets to create a new type of tactile feedback.

They also used the system to form the metal into 2D shapes such as letters and logos. As shown in the images below, these can either be large droplets of metal that are morphed into patterns, or smaller drops that are animated to create similar effects.

The research was presented recently at the ACM Interactive Surfaces and Spaces 2017 conference in Brighton, and the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Québec City.

This is a joint project between Swansea and Sussex funded by EPSRC on “Breaking the Glass: Multimodal, Malleable Interactive Mobile surfaces for Hands-In Interactions” (EP/N013948/1).

www.swansea.ac.uk/science/news/swanseauniversityresearchmanipulatesliquidmetaltocreateinteractiveeffects.php

For the first time, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have successfully 3-D-printed optical-quality glasses, on par with commercial glass products currently available on the market.

In a study published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies, LLNL scientists and engineers describe successfully printing small test pieces from Lab-developed ink with properties “within range of commercial optical grade glasses.”

Read more at:

phys.org/news/2018-03-lab-scientists-successfully-glass-optics.html#jCp

Cells comprising a tissue can pack into disorderly geometries much as do grains of sand in a sandcastle. In doing so they can freeze into a fixed shape—as in a sandcastle—or flow like sand poured from a beach bucket. The finding, reported by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Northeastern University, and MIT, provides insights into organ formation in an embryo, healing of a wound, and even invasion of cells into surrounding tissue, as occurs in cancer.

“This finding makes a deep connection between the physics of inert granular matter such as sand and the geometry of multicellular living systems,” said lead author Lior Atia, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Jeffrey Fredberg, professor of bioengineering and physiology at Harvard Chan School. “Due to the nature of how a cell nestles among its immediate neighbors, a scientist can now look at cell shapes and make a reasonable guess as to why, and how fast, those cells will migrate, remodel, or invade surrounding tissues.”

The study appears online April 2, 2018 in Nature Physics.

Read more at:

phys.org/news/2018-04-sandcastles-basic-cellular-functions.html#jCp

New math bridges holography and twistor theory
March 30, 2018, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

How, he asks, can physicists write equations when the geometry of space itself becomes subject to quantum uncertainty? Quantum gravity, the current frontier in fundamental theory, has proven more difficult to detangle than previous concepts, according to Neiman.

“With the concept of space slipping between our fingers, we seek out alternative footholds on which to base our description of the world,” he writes.

This search for alternative footholds is, in essence, a search for a new language to describe reality—and it is the subject of his most recent work, published in the Journal of High Energy Physics. In the paper, Neiman proposes a new vantage point on the geometry of space and time—one that builds on well-established approaches in physics, like holography and twistor theory, to reach new ground.

Holography is an offshoot of string theory, the theory that the universe is made up of one-dimensional objects called strings, which was developed in the late 1990s. Holography imagines the ends of the universe as the surface of an infinitely large sphere that forms the boundary of space. Even as geometry fluctuates within this sphere, this “boundary at infinity” on the sphere’s surface can remain fixed.

New math bridges holography and twistor theory

For the past 20 years, holography has been an invaluable tool for conducting quantum-gravity thought experiments. However, astronomical observations have shown that this approach cannot really apply to our world. “The accelerating expansion of our universe and the finite speed of light conspire to limit all possible observations, present or future, to a finite—though very large—region of space,” Neiman writes.

In a subtle technical sense, Neiman’s method for connecting space, its boundary at infinity, and twistor space, boils down to taking such a square root again.

Neiman hopes that his proof of concept can pave the way toward a quantum theory of gravity that does not rely on a boundary at infinity.

“It will take a lot of creativity to uncover the code of the world,” says Neiman. “And there’s joy in fumbling around for it.”

Read more at:

phys.org/news/2018-03-math-bridges-holography-twistor-theory.html#jCp

h/t Digital mix guy

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