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Doctor Explains How Magnetic Slime Robot Could Save Your Life

Doctor Explains How Magnetic Slime Robot Could Save Your Life

The Flubber-like substance can travel across surfaces, between narrow gaps and change into different shapes

Scientists have created an oozing magnetic slime hoped to save people's lives one day. See it in action below:

The ordinary person's relationship with slime extends to two things: those creepy, sticky aliens that couldn't reproduce, despite the rumours; and Robin Williams' smart, hapless professor creating Flubber.

While this isn't exactly flying rubber, it's probably the closest science has come to the extraordinary substance. It doesn't have a name, but people have already affectionately dubbed it a 'magnetic turd'.

Footage of the slime was shared on TikTok by Dr. Karan Raj (@dr.karanr), who boasts more than 4.7 million followers.

In the clip, he says: "This magnetic robot made of slime could one day save your life.

The magnetic slime can grab things.

"This magnetic slime ball has a custard-like consistency, and can squeeze through narrow objects.

"It can be manipulated by an external magnet to reach out to nearby objects and grasp them. In fact, it can even be damaged, destroyed and cut, and demonstrate self-healing properties.

"The hope is that one day it can be used inside the human body to retrieve swallowed foreign objects."

The slime was created by Professor Li Zhang and her colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It contains magnetic particles which can be manipulated, allowing it travel across surfaces, between narrow gaps and change into different shapes.

While a peer-reviewed paper was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, Zhang insisted it wasn't an April fool's joke.

The magnetic slime can change shapes with the help of other magnets.
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Speaking to The Guardian, the professor said: "The ultimate goal is to deploy it like a robot. We still consider it as fundamental research – trying to understand its material properties."

She explained how it has 'visco-elastic properties', meaning it 'sometimes behaves like a solid, sometimes it behaves like a liquid.'

The magnetic particles themselves are toxic, so the researches covered the slime in a layer of silica, which would protect the human body - in theory, of course. "The safety [would] also strongly depend on how long you would keep them inside of your body,” Zhang said.

The slime has been compared to the likes of Venom and Flubber.
Sony Pictures

While the slime has impressed viewers, it's drawn quite a few comparisons to certain movies; namely, Venom, Flubber and Terminator 2.

One user commented: "T-1000 version 0.1. Eventually it will look like Robert Patrick." Another wrote: "I think a movie in the '90s came out showing us why this is a bad idea."

A third commented: "Aww hell naw Venom is becoming a real thing." Another wrote: "How many movies do we have to make before we accept that this is a colossally horrible idea?"

Featured Image Credit: Credit: @dr.karanr/TikTok/Chinese University of Hong Kong/Disney

Topics: Science, TikTok, Health