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New soft robot morphs from a ground to air vehicle using liquid metal

Edward Barron, Michael Bartlett, and Dohgyu Hwang hold a piece of material that has been warped. Photo by Alex Parrish for Virginia Tech.

Imagine a small autonomous vehicle that could drive over land, stop, and flatten itself into a quadcopter. The rotors start spinning, and the vehicle flies away. Looking at it more closely, what do you think you would see? What mechanisms have caused it to morph from a land vehicle into a flying quadcopter? You might imagine gears and belts, perhaps a series of tiny servo motors that pulled all its pieces into place.