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Scientists at Carnegie Mellon built a self-healing skin whose applications could include bio-inspired robots, their colleagues at UCLA found a way to 3D-print muscles and connective tissue, and a team in Norway came up with “evolutionary algorithms” that enabled a robot to teach itself to walk. This week’s science roundup sounds a little like a script for a prequel to a Hollywood blockbuster. Can you name it?

What is it? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a “self-healing material that spontaneously repairs itself under extreme mechanical damage.” Carmel Majidi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the university, said, “The unprecedented level of functionality of our self-healing material can enable soft-matter electronics and machines to exhibit the extraordinary resilience of soft biological tissue and organisms.”

Why does it matter? The applications could include “bio-inspired robotics, human-machine interaction, and wearable computing,” according to the university. “If we want to build machines that are more compatible with the human body and the natural environment, we have to start with new types of materials,” Majidi said.

How does it work? The researchers made the skin from a composite material of “liquid metal droplets suspended in a soft elastomer,” the university reported. “When damaged, the droplets rupture to form new connections with neighboring droplets and reroute electrical signals without interruption.” Did we just hear you whisper “T-800”?