Women view men who rock a cracked phone negatively. Motorola and Apple are trying to remedy this cracked screen problem.
Updated: August 17, 2017
There are few cracks in this plan.
On Wednesday, Motorola was granted a patent for a phone display that repairs itself when it gets cracked, CNBC reports. In the patent description, there is a repair button that, when pressed, starts the repair process; the process works using heat that helps to seal the screen crack.
Of course, this is just a concept and has not hit markets yet, but Apple, for one, already makes it easier to get your cracked phone screen fixed. By the end of this year, Apple will have placed machines that can mend cracked iPhone screens in roughly 400 third-party repair centers in 25 countries, Reuters reported in June. Pilot testing for these machines began at stores in Miami, the Bay Area, London and more.
And there may soon be another solution to cracked phone screens in the coming years. A researcher at Queens University — working with scientists from Stanford University, the University of California, California State University and the National Institute for Materials Science — has discovered a material that may prevent smartphones from cracking. It was created by combining semiconducting molecules C60 with layered materials like graphene and hBN, a type of boron nitride; the report notes that this combination works “because hBN provides stability, electronic compatibility and isolation charge to graphene while C60 can transform sunlight into electricity.”
“Our findings show that this new ‘miracle material’ has similar physical properties to silicon [which many smartphones are now made of] but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break,” says Elton Santos, one of the researchers.” There is still at least one problem that may prevent this from being used to make your smartphone: It lacks what’s called “band gap,” which is essential to turning on and off a phone. But Santos says he may have a possible solution — the addition of a something called TMDs (transition metal dichalcogenides), which could remedy this.
While you may not have an iPhone repair machine near you, and you can’t get self-repairing or crack-resistant phones yet — and it could take years to do that even if the kinks are worked out — you probably wish you could. A survey out earlier this year of 5,500 singles from Match.com found that 86% of women negatively judge a man who carried a smartphone with a broken screen (there was not a corresponding stat for men). And yet 15% of people say they’re walking about with a broken screen, according to a survey of 2,400 smartphone users by SquareTrade.
Even if you’re happily coupled up, a nearly unbreakable smartphone likely appeals to you. From 2007 – 2014 Americans spent more than $23 billion getting their damaged smartphones fixed, according to SquareTrade. That’s because repairs don’t come cheap. To fix a broken iPhone screen, Apple typically changes between $129 and $149, once the phone is no longer under warranty.
This story was originally published on June 2, 2017 and was updated on June 7, 2017 and then on August 17th.
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