Liquidmetal generated a lot of buzz when word leaked that it might be featured in a new version of the iPhone, but the material has applications beyond consumer electronics. Stronger than titanium and lighter than steel, it's already being used in two medical electronics devices that have made it to market.
Liquidmetal, an amorphous liquid metal alloy first discovered at the California Institute of Technology in the 1990s, is used as the housing for two products made by Biolase Technology (Irvine, CA), the ezlase Diode Dental Laser System and iLase, a handheld pen laser for dental procedures. Matt Duncan, president and industrial designer at Morphix Design (San Clemente, CA), which provided contract design assistance for both products, says the material was chosen for its strength, ability to be molded into thin wall thicknesses, and aesthetic appeal. It also shows promise for applications such as MRI.
—Jamie Hartford is the managing editor of MED. Follow her on Twitter @readMED.