Dropped Smartphones Will Be Able To Heal Themselves

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Mobile Phones that can regenerate a skin?

What would you think if we told you that a mobile phone could actually repair itself if it were dropped?

We are not talking having a layer of spray giving the device protection here, as we have discussed earlier, or indeed any kind of actual protection.

What we are saying is that your smartphone, or pretty much any device, could actually regenerate cells is it was scratched or dented en-route to a showroom or shop etc?

Smartphones That Regenerate
Smartphones That Regenerate

If humans can repair cells then so can smartphones?

In a report in science daily, we have found out that scientists are looking at ways that could actually repair cell damage in a manufactured device, pretty much in the same way that science can now work out ways of repairing human cell damage.

Delving into the realms of nano technology, manufacturers will tell you that digital devices suffer damage on many levels, which gets factored into overall costings.

In a paper published in Nature Nanotechnolgy on the 10 Jan. It would appear that a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) have brought an idea to life that proposes to fix malfunctions that are caused by minor surface damage during production, these small surface cracks would then be given a “repair-and-go” solution that would make the device work again as it should do prior to the micro damage that stopped it working.

Such is the complexity of detail that our devices work under, it would seem that this issue is a huge concern for manufacturers.

Indeed, reports of LCD screens having a 50% failure rate was enough to make many environmentalists gasp at the wastage in modern production techniques we all assume are pretty waste free, so with that in mind, I can see where this could come in use, though I suspect that extreme example would not be the kind of level this technology would work at.

Inspiration from white blood-cells

In the same way that white blood cells repair damage on site, this was the inspiration behind the ideas that went into the proposals and documentation below.

Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and co-investigator on the project, Anna Balazs, states:

“Anything that’s a machine with a surface is affected by these small-scale cracks, these are surfaces that play a role in almost anything, especially functionality.”

How will this help?

Balzas goes on to say:

A flexible micro capsule filled with a solution of nano particles would be applied to a damaged surface; it would then repair defects by releasing nano particles into them. Using nano particles and droplets of oil stabilized with a polymer surfactant — compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid.

“The repair-and-go method can extend the lifetime of any system or device, additionally, it could be used as a repair method after a crack has been found.”

It is proposed that the method is put into practice at the last step of manufacture, as the team at UMass actualized the theory and showed that these microcapsules found the defects and cracks and then delivered the nanoparticle contents into them to essentially heal and make good the potential for problems.

Source: Original research by Balazs and her team was published in ACS Nano and later reported on Nature Nanotechnology’s “News and Views” section in September 2010.

Anthony Munns