The concept of self-healing materials has the potential to change many industries. Of course, it would be great if we could have this technology on our smartphones. After all, we use our phones constantly. Despite that, they get scratched or even crack so easily. Tech analyst firm CCS Insight predicted that having a self-healing display on a smartphone is just five years away. But what does this mean, exactly?
No more scratches
Self-healing is a highly marketable feature for smartphones. A lot of people with bad experiences with their phones breaking would not hesitate to make the switch. Environmental conditions will eventually damage any surface, whether it’s from a collision or erosion. While not without failure, self-healing materials come with mechanisms to combat micro damage when it first happens.
— Physics Magazine (@PhysicsMagazine) November 30, 2022
This ability for certain things to self-heal had, until now, proven successful for different purposes. Attempts at bringing this to the smartphone market also have taken place. From patents to discoveries, we can see the early stages of development are happening for self-healing smartphones and beyond.
An Apple patent directly shows how they plan to have an elastomer layer coating on top of the curved screen which self-repairs. Motorola also patented a similar device. Elastomer is one of the most used self-healing materials alongside polymer. These materials are designed so the chemical bonds themselves can be reversed via the chain structure. Essentially, this means infinite heals. A different approach is assisted healing, where tiny capsules with healing agents are opened every time a micro damage occurs, but it can only happen until the material runs out of usable capsules.
What happens next
CCS Insight shared that a Japanese graduate student accidentally created a polymer similar to glass in 2017. This meant there wouldn’t be the need for a self-healing layer above the screen but the screen itself could be self-healing. Ever since, many new ideas and innovations including nanotechnology capable of self-repair have emerged. This has also resulted in discussions such as the CCS Insight’s Prediction for 2024 and Beyond event which contains 85 predictions. That includes the prediction of having self-healing displays.
That's a wrap!
💚 CCS Insight would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who tuned into Predictions for 2024 and Beyond! We hope you found each session insightful and entertaining.
— CCS Insight (@CCSInsight) October 12, 2023
While we had the LG G Flex’s back cover to give us a sneak peek of how self-healing would work on a phone, we have yet to see it applied fully in our smartphones today. With how advanced technology is now, it might be sooner than we think.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Christopher Isak with Midjourney for TechAcute.
Sources: Ryan Browne (CNBC) / Taylor Lyles (The Verge) / Alice Morby (Dezeen) / PolymerExpert / CCS Insight / SciTechDaily / CCS Insight / Alyson Shontell (Business Insider)