US researchers have made electronic circuits that can stretch like rubber. The flexible wires might create wearable electronics or artificial nerves that can bend inside the body.

Vigorous twisting and stretching destroys traditional electronics made from metals or silicon. And earlier versions of bendy electronics tended to break down if they were deformed too much.

Christopher Chen at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and his co-workers built rubbery circuits out of several squashed but extendable gold wires. These are 20 times thinner than a human hair and wrapped in a springy polymer. The wires can be stretched by over half their initial length without loss of electrical conductivity.

Wiring like this could be woven into stretchy sports clothing and used to connect up sensors that monitor athletic performance. Rubbery electrodes made from biocompatible materials might be attached to a beating heart and used to sense impending problems.

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