Your next heart monitor could be graphene-coated Silly Putty

But you'll still have to put it back in its egg when you're done.

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For a child's toy, Silly Putty has some downright crazy physical properties. The mixture of boric acid and silicon oil, originally developed as a synthetic replacement for rubber, is a non-Newtonian fluid. Its viscosity isn't affected by temperature, but rather external force -- that is, its rate of flow depends on how hard you push or stretch it. And while its original inventors were content to leave it as a plaything, a team of researchers from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland are about to put it to work in the medical field.

"It's got these strange properties but it never really found an application," Trinity College physicist, Jonathan Coleman, told NPR. "So we thought, if we could make it do something, that would be cool." That something involved coating Silly Putty with graphene -- a form of carbon that measures just one atom in thickness. By combining graphene's electrical conductivity with the putty's odd fluidity, the team created a material that both conducts a charge and is exceptionally sensitive to pressure. Any amount of force applied to it will modulate the material's electrical resistance.

It's so sensitive, in fact, that if you stick a bit of it to your throat, it can monitor not just the pulse of your carotid artery but your blood pressure as well. It's even reportedly capable of detecting a spider's footsteps. The material does have to be handled carefully, though, because as any parent can tell you, the second that stuff gets into the carpet, you're going to need a new carpet.