Self-healing Smartphone Screens

What if your smartphone screen is shattered and gets recovered when you hit the button “repair”?

You would say, “Come out of the fantasy world” and I would say, “This wonder is going to happen soon in the World of Electronics”.

Experiments and researches on self-healing materials are growing rapidly to exploit these innovative materials in daily life utensil. The applications of self-healing materials can be found in various areas of everyday life, for example, smart fabrics, heat-shrinkable tubes for electronics or films for packaging, self-deployable sun sails in spacecraft, intelligent medical devices or implants for minimally invasive surgery and now in self-disassembling smartphone screens. Businesses are investing huge amounts because of the rising uses of self-healing materials.

Motorola filed a patent for a self-healing phone screen. A polymeric smart material, “Shape-memory polymers (SMPs)”, is used in the design of smartphone screens which have the ability to reshape when external stimulus is applied, like temperature change.

In principal, the users will have to tap repair option and wait for the smashed screen to restore.

The smartphone will be programmed to detect damage, scratch or any form deformation in the screens. After the problem is sited, the smartphone will alert the user about what happened and will give the option to start the repair. After tapping the repair button, the phone provides heat to the material from inside to mend the flaws. User can also point out any damages manually.

Many questions are rising in the minds about this self healing phenomenon of smartphone screens. It will really challenge smartphone companies. With the smartphone screens that can repair so easily, the turnover rate will decrease rapidly.

A lecturer from University of Exeter, Adam Lusby, says that this smartphone companies should back off their schemes of usual selling of the models which prompt impulsive change of gadgets.

He believes in such a business in which the products are used as a service rather than a possession by individuals which, in a while, is disposed of or replaced with a fresh one.

Another advocate of self-healing screens, Gary Cook, a senior IT analyst for Greenpeace says, “The company’s business or stock price depends upon the purchasing of new devices every two years which is not sustainable because these devices consume a colossal amount of Earth’s resources.”

In a conundrum about how resource concentrated these smartphone screens would be or how hard to recycle, Cook answered, “Even if the self-healing gadget sounds great, there may perhaps be a need of finding a middle ground for some environmental factors. “We don’t yet know enough to review it. We are not also in the position to declare if it’s a good or bad thing”.

A senior policy adviser Libby Peake is of the view regarding self-healing smartphone screens that regardless of the possibility of efficient use of resources, these innovations could challenge sustainability in the form of increased complexity and difficulties in recovery.
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