Windsor

Scientists are using gold to create high-tech clothes at University of Windsor

Chemistry students at the University of Windsor are weaving gold into clothes to develop wearable technology that could one day monitor people's health and activity levels.

Technology could be used to monitor health and activity

University of Windsor chemistry professor, Trisha Carmichael, left, and graduate student Yun Yun Wu are working to develop wearable technology using gold. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Chemistry students at the University of Windsor are weaving gold into clothes to develop wearable technology that could one day monitor people's health and activity levels.

Dr. Tricia Carmichael is the primary investigator at the lab and explained putting a very, very thin coating of the precious metal on fabric is one way to eliminate the wires, while still allowing electrical currents to pass through the cloth.

"The idea we're trying to pursue is how do you make electronics truly wearable so you're not even really aware that you're wearing them," she said. "I think there are huge opportunities in this field that's just really getting started."

University of Windsor graduate students created a nano technology that can be put directly on fabrics. 0:57

The team is working with polyester, but plans to switch to spandex next.

They've already created light-emitting cloth that could allow cyclists currently relying on reflectors to be even more visible at night.

Carmichael said students have tested that cloth for "wearablity, washability and sweatability" — the fabric didn't lose its properties, despite rumbling around in a washer and dryer for several cycles.

Wu said she's hoping wearable technology will change the way people live. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Yun Yun Wu has been working with the fabrics for several month.

The graduate student said she wants to improve safety for people at night and hopes to develop a way to better car for the elderly.

"I want to change the way people live."