The self-healing tech will allow cracks and dents on Apple devices to repair automatically without a prompt or any action taken by the user manually.
The display cover will be made of a special flex material that can be repaired through an external application of heat, electricity or another external stimulus. The application for the patent was spotted by Patently Apple. Apple filed the patent in January.
The proposed concept’s display would allow the device to repair itself of dents and scratches covering the screen without the user having to manually intervene.
Foldable Phone With Self-healing Display
The patent application also says that the foldable device’s display will be made of elastomer that can lose and regain its shape and protect the inner material from damage.
In theory, the material for this concept would make the foldable’s overall display cover more durable.
Apple wrote in its patent’s abstract: “An electronic device may have a hinge that allows the device to be flexed about a bend axis. A display may span the bend axis. To facilitate bending about the bend axis without damage, the display may include a display cover layer with a flexible portion. The flexible portion of the display cover layer may be interposed between first and second rigid portions of the display cover layer. The display cover layer may also include a layer with self-healing properties,”
Flip phones were the rage when mobile phones were introduced initially. Slowly they were replaced by sleeker versions that were designed for quick access.
But now again the concept is coming back. Several tech companies, including Samsung and Motorola, are already making different styles of foldable phones.
Apple Foldable Smartphone Self Healing
But as usual, Apple’s display self-healing property is a unique offering.
This self-healing technology is not new. LG’s G Glex that was launched in 2013, had a self-healing self cover that had the ability to repair minor scratches. But it was not very successful.
Similarly, Motorola also launched a phone with self-healing properties in 2017. It came with a shape memory polymer that helped it repair itself at the tap of a button.
There is no indication that Apple will launch a foldable phone with self-healing material soon, if at all. But foldable phones are something Apple appears to have been toying around with for years, with other patent applications showing mockups of what a foldable phone by Apple would look like.
Self-healing coating material has been a point of interest among researchers. A coating for cell phones that can repair itself and is both soft and hard at the same time, was invented by some scientists at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China.
“We designed a self-healing coating with a hardness that even approaches tooth enamel by mimicking the structure of epidermis,” the inventor of the polymer material MingYang tells Inverse. “This is the most desirable property combination in the current self-healing materials and coatings.”
Japanese researchers have developed a new type of glass that can heal itself from cracks and breaks.
The glass made from a low weight polymer called “polyether-thioureas” can heal breaks when pressed together by hand without the need for high heat to melt the material.