A team of University of Tokyo researchers have developed a hard, glass-like polymer, which is able to “heal” itself with only hand pressure unlike other materials that require a great deal of heat to repair a break.
As it often happens in science, the special glass polymer was accidentally discovered by a graduate student, Yu Yanagisawa, who found that cut edges of the polymer would stick to each other, and formed a strong sheet after being compressed by hand at just 21 degrees Celsius.
What Yanagisawa thought was a new type of glue could eventually usher in an era of self-healing smartphone displays.
This is not the first time a polymer has been suggested as a healable screen for smartphones though.
In April, University of California researchers came up with a polymer capable of stretching to 50 times its original size and fusing cracks on smartphone screens within 24 hours.
In August, Motorola said it had obtained a patent for a self-healing display.
Some Smartphone makers are already using self-healing materials in devices. LG’s G Flex 2 features a coating on its back capable of healing minor scratches over time, even though unable to fully repair heavier damage.