Miklós Zrínyi of Semmelweiss University in Budapest invented a flexible magnetic substance. By controlling the magnetic forces around objects made from this gel, one can move it around as needed. There are numerous potential applications:
Soft magnetic materials like this one could be used for artificial muscles in robots, or to replace rigid machine components, such as valves. Other teams are also working on making robots more flexible: an electroactive polymer was recently used to create a motor that rotates, without any gears or ratchets. A chemical gel that can walk like a caterpillar could also be used as a component of future robots.
Link via Popular Science