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NC State builds stretchable wires from liquid metal, keeps headphones humming (video)

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 19, 2012
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More than a few of us have had that moment of panic when our headphone cords catch on an object and cut the listening short -- sometimes permanently. Researchers at North Carolina State University could help mitigate those minor musical catastrophes with wiring that stretches up to eight times its normal length. The method fills an elastic polymer tube with a liquid gallium and indium alloy that delivers the electricity. By keeping the materials separate, unlike many past attempts, the solution promises the best of both worlds: the conduction we need, and the tolerance for tugs that we want. NC State already has an eye on stretchable headphone cords, as you'll see in the video after the break, but it also sees advantages for electronic textiles that could endure further abuse. As long as the team can eventually solve a problem with leakage when there's a complete break, we'll be glad enough to leave one of our common audio mishaps in the past.

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