Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a conductive wire that can be stretched up to eight times its original length without impeding functionality. The malleability was achieved by filling an extremely thin elastic polymer tube with a liquid metal alloy consisting of gallium and indium. By keeping the plastic and metallic materials separate, researchers have been able to create a much more stretchable wire while keeping electrical conductivity high.
The new type of wire can be used for headphones as well as phone chargers, use cases where cables are often maddeningly short and prone to snagging. The wires can be mass-produced using currently available manufacturing methods too, but there is still one issue stopping it from reaching the mass market: the metal inside the cable can leak if the plastic is split open or cut.