Nope, Not a Joke: Scientists Invent Magnetic Slime That Could Help Retrieve All the Weird Stuff Kids Swallow

No sh*t—this "magnetic turd" has the potential to be used in digestive systems to recover harmful objects like batteries.

Pile of magnetic black slime
Photo: Getty

This "magnetic turd" is a robotic, crawling, scientifically-engineered magnetic substance that was created to help move objects through narrow passageways. And the future potential applications of the lifelike goo include helping to recover the weird stuff our kids decide to swallow.

As The Guardian reports, although we've been warned about how dangerous ingesting magnets is, this slime was conceived with the intention of being used to work its way through the human digestive tract at some point in the future.

In the journal Advanced Functional Materials, the sludge is characterized as a slime robot whose abilities include transporting harmful materials. Ahem, coins, jewelry and safety pins, which are among the small objects children have been known to swallow in what can feel like the blink of an eye.

The slime robot's co-creator, Professor Li Zhang, from the University of Hong Kong, cautions that the dirt-like blob is still in the research phase, as in, no one has tried to rescue an ingested object from a child's digestive system using it just yet. But as he explained, "The ultimate goal is to deploy it like a robot."

So, the goop, which is sort of like a solid, and sort of like a liquid, and is made of borax, polyvinyl alcohol and a magnetic substance, could be called upon to enter the body and grasp something like a coin, according to New Scientist.

You can watch a video of the fascinating fecal-like slime robot doing just that on the outlet's YouTube.

The ooze is manipulated via outside magnets, according to the clip, and in a property reminiscent of Stranger Things, even heals if severed in two. Shivers. The futuristic fungalesque gunk also boasts the ability to encircle objects, and scientists believe their discovery offers hope for the medical world. If a child, for instance, ate a button battery, the slime would act as a far less invasive means to remove it.

If you are wondering, like we are, how this slop could possibly be safe for human ingestion, rest assured it's coated in silicon so as not to pose any danger to the digestive tract. That said, again, we must stress that the oobleck-like liquid, er..solid, um...crossover crud, is in the testing phases.

And, you definitely should not attempt to replicate the experiment of using slime to help recover a swallowed object.

But here's to the future of science and medicine! It's looking very weird, but also pretty darn amazing if you consider the scary consequences of a kiddo swallowing stuff that can cause serious harm. Then again, how cool would it be to tell their friends a slime robot helped them in an emergency?

Just kidding. Don't put batteries in your mouth, kid.

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