Finally, a scientific reason for gold wearables! #soDubai

Gold is good for wearables since it works at the smallest level thanks to its stretchiness
Gold is good for wearables since it works at the smallest level thanks to its stretchiness. Image courtesy

Got yourself one of those fancy Mio Alpha 2s for Christmas? Your next health wearables should be made of stretchy gold

Wearables have been credited with doing many things, but scientists say they aren’t monitoring your health very well. And to that end, boffins in South Korea are working on a stretchy new device that can function around the clock.

Better yet, it’s made of gold – which will go down fantastically in the bling-loving Emirates! #welovegold.

Okay, okay – here are the deets. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, Jaemin Kim and 11 other authors explain how they’ve used gold nanoparticles to create an ultra-thin, stretchable wearable that continuously monitors the heart rate. They say this will lead to improved personal and mobile health-monitoring systems.

More flexibility for wearables

“Most deformable memory devices reported so far are just flexible. These kinds of memory devices are not compatible with wearable applications that require complicated modes of mechanical deformations such as stretching,” they wrote in the paper. They point out that rapid developments in wearable electronics have led to an urgent demand for deformable electronic devices.

Consequently, wearable systems for health-conscious individuals need to incorporate healthcare monitoring and data analysis that is based on high-performance bioelectronics. They should also integrate various stretchable electronic components, such as sensors, amplifiers, and memory modules.

Why gold works

Their solution uses gold nanoparticles, which they say afford many advantages, including superb chemical stability and high work function. Gold is preferred at the nanoparticle level because it remains unoxidised at that size. Other metals typically form an oxide and lose the nanoparticle optical properties that make them useful for imaging, and ultimately collect together to form macroparticles. Gold retains its nanoparticle property to produce great contrast in optical images.

Overall, the new solution emphasises high performance and stretchability. “The stretchable, high density, and ultra-thin memory array with the enhanced charge storage capability has great potential for various wearable electronics applications,” the researchers said.

More work remains to be done, though – so enjoy that Mio Alpha 2 for now.