It is only a matter of time after you buy your shiny new gadget that scratches start appearing. Maybe it's when you put your keys and iPhone in the same pocket by accident, or when your phone goes sliding across the table, screen-side-down. The lack of shine is what tempts many to upgrade even when a device functions perfectly well -- but a new self-repairing film from Toray might make you wait much longer between purchases.
TechOn reports that Toray Advanced Film Co Ltd will start selling a "Self-cure Coat Film" that can heal small scratches on surfaces.Toray's film is made with a wet-coating method to create a self-healing layer on the surface of PET film. Because of its high viscosity and elasticity, it can repair small scratches on its own in 10 seconds or less. Any deep scratches cannot be self-healed, but the small scratches picked up through basic use throughout the day are all able to be repaired likely before you even know the device was scratched.
Self-healing surfaces and electronics is a concept pursued quite a bit these days, and it's no wonder why. Having an object able to repair itself can reduce waste and make everything last a little longer. So having a company on the verge of mass production is interesting. The company has plans to produce a few hundred thousand square meters a year.
"Thus far, the company has been supplying the film for a limited number of applications such as decorative films for notebook computers. But it established a volume production system for the film, planning to expand the use of the film to decorative films on the surfaces of mobile devices, films for the protection of the surfaces of touch panels, etc.," reports TechOn.
So it might simply be a matter of time before a thin coating of self-healing film is on most of our devices. Our two primary concerns are how the production of the film impacts the environment, and if the film will impact the recyclability of a device. While we love the idea of a film that will keep the "oh shiny!" appeal of a device longer, if those two issues don't have satisfactory answers then we wouldn't mind passing on it altogether.