If you’re like me, cracking your smartphone’s display is a significant fear you deal with on a daily basis.
“Well, don’t drop your phone then,” is probably what you’re thinking after reading that first sentence. While true, accidents still happen. Regardless of how careful you are with your smartphone, it’s likely that at some point, you’ve dropped and damaged your smartphone’s display.
Because of this problem, just the possibility of a device eventually existing that has the ability to ‘heal’ itself is exciting for me.
According to a recently filed patent, Motorola is allegedly imagining a future where a smartphone is capable of identifying and fixing cracks in its touchscreen via heat.
The technology powering this non-existent, futuristic tech is known as “shape memory polymer,” a material that can be deformed and then recycled through thermal cycling. The process of thermal cycling involves rapidly changing the temperature of a material in order to change its structure.
According to the patent, this material could be used to encase an LCD or LED display that has a capacitive touch sensor built into it. While the smartphone is capable of heating up in order to fix cracks, a user’s body heat is also capable of changing the shape memory polymer’s structure.
While the inherent concept of a smartphone that fixes itself sounds impressive and something I wish existed now, I don’t expect that Motorola will be selling devices equipped with shape memory polymer for a number of years, if ever.