Terminator Series: Science Fiction or Science Fact?



Terminator 5 -Genesys is the latest installment in the Terminator series. The star of the movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, made an instant buzz when he sent an Instagram post about the movie’s release date. With all of the technological advances of the past 30 years,  the premise of the Terminator series is becoming less science fiction and more of science fact.  In his Instagram post,the 67-year-old former governor of California made the announcement of the highly anticipated movie’s release date, which is July 1, 2015.

It all began with the 1984 release of Terminator, where Arnold Schwarzenegger played a cyborg from the year 2029. Schwarzenegger’s character known as the Terminator came to change future events by attempting to murder the mother of a future rebel leader that threatened the existence of a cybernetically controlled future. The movie is a study of what can happen when technology goes a step too far, and the four sequels that the movie spawned reveal many plots and twists that could potentially be a reality someday.

Projects at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have scientists developing robots that would have the ability to change forms just as in Terminator 2, where Robert Patrick played the T-1000, which was a cyborg who could shape shift from liquid to solid and fluidly move around any space. Scientists believe that this research could pave the way for robots to assist in locating damaged areas in the body without harming any organs or blood vessels along the way. The material was developed by a team of researchers led by MIT professor Annette Hosoi. The implications and applications of this material could someday turn the Terminator series’ science fiction into science fact. Other uses for this material include search and rescue missions where robots could reach into places normal equipment could not get to.

The researchers began by coating foam structures with wax. The foam’s pliability allows it to be compressed into a fraction of its normal size and return to its original size once the pressure is released. The coating  can morph from hard to soft and is easily moldable when heated. The mixture of the wax and foam is so precise that it is hoped that it will lead to a new generation of androids that can morph from one state to another. The material is also affordable, making it viable enough to produce at a low-cost.

Hosoi stated that the material had the capacity to heal itself, and  even if the wax coating over the foam becomes damaged it could be heated and cooled back to its original state. Hosoi also said that the materials to create this substance could be bought in a craft store. James Cameron, director of the Terminator series, spoke of how the human species has a tendency to move forward in technological directions that could eventually lead  to their demise. Although Hosoi’s research is in its first stages, the material could possibly be developed into something much more sophisticated, and turn the Terminator series science fiction into science fact.

By Adrianne Hill


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