SLIDESHOW: The Most Useful Things the World Does with Gold
The world today is full of electronic circuit boards, from computers to cellphones. Because gold is a highly efficient conductor, it's used to make the bonding wires that connect those circuit boards' components -- and there are thousands of connections on a single circuit board. But because those bonding wires are thinner than a human hair, the total amount of gold used is minuscule. A mobile device like a smartphone or tablet PC contains about 0.0002 ounces of gold. At $1,800 an ounce for gold, that's only 36&cent; worth of gold in a typical device. Of course, with 1 billion phones manufactured each year, demand for gold from that industry alone adds up to 91 metric tons of gold -- $360 million worth. More will be accounted for by the 400 million desktops and laptops, and the more than 250 million TVs that will be manufactured in 2011 alone.