Cracked screens: Broken displays and scratches on screens are really really common problems that almost all users face, especially if you use your phone for a long period- over two years. This post has been a long time in the making. People usually solve that by applying a tempered glass screen protector for better drop and scratch resistance. In case the screen still breaks, screen replacements costs for flagships are really high.
Thanks to new research from teams in IISC Kolkata IIT Kharagpur, a new self healing technology has been developed. This new self healing material can actually be practical. It can be used in smartphones.
Right now, self healing materials do exist, but not for cracked screens. There were a couple of self healing smartphones that were launched back in the day, but they were not really effective and came with a load of compromises. They were overpriced. And the self healing was only for the back of the phone and the screen still broke on impact.
Rugged smartphones are also not practical thanks to the multiple performance, camera and display compromises. Rugged smartphones are basically regular smartphones with bad specs with a rubber case stuck on the back and priced higher.
So, this new technology that fixes cracked screens when they are broken can be pretty revolutionary. Every year smartphone companies quote 30 or 40% better drop and scratch performance, but these percentages have become meaningless because the improvement was not that drastic.
A key point to note is that this new material can be used in electronic gadgets (including smartphones) and it is nearly ten times harder than existing materials used in self healing smartphones. This might solve the cracked screen and broken back problems.
Our smartphones have evolved in terms of materials over the years. It went from plastic to glass to aluminum & stainless and then back to plastic & glass. Now, most flagship smartphones have glass on the front and back and stainless steel or Aluminum on the sides. Mid rangers have plastic frames and some have plastic backs too. Entry level and lower mid range phones are entirely made of plastic. Basically most smartphones these days are glass sandwiches. Cracked Screens are common on smartphones with poor quality front glass.
Moving on to the research, this new material is pretty robust and it will change the way people feel about self healing smartphones.
This material is pretty resistant to blemishes and scratches and dents. This type of minor damage can easily be repaired by using this material. When dropped from a small to medium height, smartphone screens take minor damage and a few scratches. This can be fixed automatically.
Note that this material is not one hundred percent invulnerable to damage and might or might not pass Jerry Rig Everything’s tests, but it is definitely a huge step up from existing materials like Gorilla Glass Victus or Ceramic Shield, the “toughest glass on a smartphone” that breaks after a 4ft fall.
Applications of self healing materials on smartphones is still a pretty niche category and have not entered the mainstream yet. Existing self healing materials are too soft, since the impact needs to be absorbed to provide the healing effect. Structural reinforcement was nearly impossible. However this new material supposedly ten times harder than existing self healing material.
Cracked screens are an issue, but how does this material solve the problem?
This technology is quite revolutionary and the way it works is interesting. On the self healing material, if any kind of damage happens, it creates a fracture in the surface. On impact, the fracture created will heal itself, the fracture zones simply rejoin and the smartphone is fixed.
This material has a crystalline structure with well ordered internal array that permits a favorable structure for use in internals of electronic gadgets and optical applications.
The material is just 1 to 2mm long and 0.1 to 0.2mm wide. Electromagnetic forces between molecules are a key technology that force the broken parts to fix. Strong electromagnetic forces are hard to break.
This does not come without a caveat. It is going to take at least two years to properly integrate this material into gadgets. Then there is a fact that this is “Piezo electric”.
Yes. we did not understand it either but it basically was supposed to mean it discharges electrons upon application of mechanical stress but it is highly sensitive to electronic interference and a slight disruption in current can cause damage and be chaotic if not engineered properly. We know this is not exactly related to Xiaomi, but Xiaomi is usually the first to include latest technology in their smartphones, so we can expect them to bring it to the mainstream.
With that being said, let us know what you think of the newly developed technology to fix smartphone screens automatically. Do you think it will enter the mainstream market? Will it be practical? Do drop a comment down below.
Thanks a lot for reading!