By Anna Mulrine, Washington Whispers
Top scientists working for the Pentagon say that they are close to creating "chemical robots." Yes, bloblike creations that can morph back and forth from solid to liquidlike forms and squeeze under doors and through keyholes, much like the Sandman of Spider-Man fame or the villain of Terminator 2. The point: to help troops in the field who "might want to go through a space or a hole but can't because it's too dangerous or small," says Mitchell Zakin, the program manager for the programmable matter division at the pioneering Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. "The way you do that, you have some sort of object that will squeeze through a door or drop through a drain or vent hole." This "blobby" robot of sorts "sounds futuristic." But, Zakin adds, "it's mind-boggling the progress being made on this."