Scientists have developed a self-healing material that could be used for smartphone screens as soon as 2020.
This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen so-called “self-healing” technology used in smartphones.
The LG G Flex 2, which came out in 2015, features a “self-healing” back panel that’s claimed to repair “everyday scratches” in ten seconds.
However, Chemists at UC Riverside say that this is the first time scientists have managed to create self-repairing material that’s also capable of conducting electricity, which means it can be used for touchscreens.
It’s made of a stretchable polymer and an ionic salt, and features a type of bond called an ion-dipole force, reports Business Insider.
The researchers say the material can stitch itself back together in less than 24 hours after being torn apart, with its charged ions and polar molecules attracting and aligning to complete the repair.
Gorilla Glass is the screen material of choice for most high-end smartphones right now, but it’s extremely prone to shattering on impact, leaving users to decide between buying a new handset or spending a significant amount of money on a replacement screen.
“Self-healing materials may seem far away for real application, but I believe they will come out very soon with cellphones,” said Chao Wang, a chemist leading the project.
“Within three years, more self-healing products will go to market and change our everyday life. It will make our cellphones achieve much better performance than what they can achieve right now.”