South Korean scientists create a thin battery-powered mesh made from silver nanowires that generates heat so users can ''wrap'' therapeutic heat around body parts, instead of going to a doctor or therapist for treatment. Sharon Reich reports.
It looks like a bracelet, but this cool mesh accessory is actually radiating heat to treat muscle pains and stiff joints. So it could just save you a trip to the physical therapist's office. South Korean researcher Kim Dae-hyeong, and his team at Seoul National University developed the stretchable mesh heater to be applied to bendy body parts like the knee or elbow at home. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN RESEARCHER AT INSTITUTE FOR BASIC SCIENCE (IBS), KIM DAE-HYEONG, SAYING: "There are a number of networked silver nanowires inside of conductive rubber. It has very high conductivity so that it can reach at 40 to 45 degree Celsius heat with a wattage of one volt. It is stretchable and can stick to skin easily even if people make some movement." To create the 'serpentine' mesh design, the nanowires are mixed with a liquid elastic material and then poured into a mould, that is later placed in between layers of soft, thin insulation. The research team are already working on further advancing the technology and seeing what other applications it can have. . (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN RESEARCHER AT INSTITUTE FOR BASIC SCIENCE (IBS), KIM DAE-HYEONG, SAYING: "We're focusing on trying to make this so it can be used not only for treatment but in various industrial fields; such as automobile, semiconductors and display devices." The research, led by the Institute of Basic Science, was published in the ACS Nano journal in May.