Soon, your phone's cracked screen may have its own healing factor.
Scientists from the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Riverside have developed a self-healing material that has potential applications for phone screens, artificial muscles, and more.
The concept isn't exactly new. In late 2013, the LG G Flex1 came out with a self-healing back that automatically repaired scratches and other wear and tear in a matter of minutes. The Flex's material was non-conductive, so it couldn't be used on screens.
This new material is "transparent2, self-healing, highly stretchable material that can be electrically activated3 and could be used to improve batteries, electronic devices, and robots," according to a blog post from UC Riverside.
Chao Wang, one of the authors of the paper, "developed an interest in self-healing materials because of his lifelong love of Wolverine, the comic book character who has the ability to self-heal."
Christoph Keplinger, another author of the paper, has previously4 demonstrated that these stretchable, transparent materials can be used to create transparent loudspeakers. With the additional ability to self-heal, the new material is ideal for electronics. The material is both low-cost and strong and can fix itself by resting for 24 hours at room temperature.
While it may sound futuristic, Wang expects to see materials like the one developed by his lab in production in as little as three years.
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