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Motorola’s self-repairing screen could be the turning point for your phone’s war on concrete

Motorola released a patent showing off a screen that would be able to repair minor-cracks and limit the effects of bigger ones.

The phone would be able to sense the cracks on the touchscreen display and then apply heat to reshape and repair the damaged surface.

The device would make use of ‘shape memory polymer’ which is a smart-plastic being developed at the University of Rochester.

The University says that the materials they are developing have chemical properties that allow them to do amazing things.

These polymers typically have a permanent state, which is the state they'll always return to after being stretched into what is known as a temporary state.

One unique attribute of this particular material is that they can hold their temporary state at about room temperature or below, and return to their permanent state rather quickly, with only a slight increase in temperature.

The stored energy is another important capability of this material.

This attribute allows these materials to do work as they return to the permanent state, such as lifting a weight or compressing something, or in Motorola’s case, repair a screen. 

In the repair mode, users would be able to lay out the area for repair by touching around the cracks. 

The phone would then enter a repair mode which would automatically repair the cracks as much as possible. 

This material could be used over an LCD or LED display which could lead to a more complete repair of the screen. 

As exciting as this technology sounds it is very important to realise that it isn’t much more than a patent right now. 

This means it will likely be a couple of years maybe even a decade before we actually see this technology integrated into our mobile devices. 

Here are some images explaining how the device could work


Regardless of how long it takes to create and integrate this technology, it could be a game changer for the mobile industry, especially Motorola. 

That is if we aren’t all using holographic displays at that point, I’m looking at you Red. 

Here’s a video on how these magical polymers work:

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