We’ve all dropped our phones once or twice, and some of us have even shattered our screens in the process. That may soon be a thing of the past if this new technology by Japanese researchers comes to light.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo told Science that they have discovered a type of glass that can heal itself, which could be used in phone screens and other devices. This is all thanks to a new polymer called “polyether-thioureas” that allows the screen to repair cracks when pressed upon.
Similar self-healing methods have been applied to plastic and rubber, but the researchers say this is the first of its kind since it can be repaired at room temperature. The researchers noted that the glass is “highly robust mechanically yet can readily be repaired by compression at fractured surfaces.”
Funnily enough, much like the potato chip or chocolate chip cookies, this too was discovered by accident. A student named Yu Yanagisawa was attempting to use the material as glue when he discovered its healing properties. Believe it or not, the glass can supposedly return to its original strength after just a few hours.
This is not the first proposed solution for broken displays, and it probably won’t be the last. Recently, Motorola filed a patent for self-healing display technology that would fix cracks when heat is applied. The LG G Flex 2 also came with a back panel that could repair small scratches by itself. Whenever self-healing displays come to fruition, it will be a welcome improvement in the smartphone world.