A new discovery by scientists in Japan may spell the end of cracked screens for smartphones. The team, led by Professor Takuzo Aida from the University of Tokyo, have found a new polymer that can heal itself by just using pressure rather than heat.
Published in Science, the polymer is a unique hard glass-like polymer called “polyether-thioureas”. By just using hand pressure on the cracks, the polymer can repair itself to its original form. Other similar materials need considerably large amounts of heat to achieve the same results.
According to reports, the new material was discovered by mistake. A graduate student, Yu Yanagisawa thought he found a new type of glue as the edges will stick to each other after being compressed by hand for 30 seconds at 21 degrees Celsius. Instead, they found that the property of the polymer persists even with cracks in the materials which can be repaired using the same method.
This is not the first time we see technology like this being discovered and announced. Motorola filed a patent for a self-healing screen not too long ago, but using a different method to heal the cracks. As this technology matures, we may see the needs of screen protectors fade away, and perhaps even see indestructible phones in the horizon.