Apple to develop foldable iPhone with ‘self-healing’ screen

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San Francisco: Apple is developing a foldable iPhone with a “self-healing” screen that uses heat to automatically fix cracks and scratches, according to a patent application.
The proposed technology would use elastomer, a pliant material that returns to its original form when heated.
It would be used in phones, laptops, tablets, watches and other devices, according to Apple’s application. The application titled “Electronic Devices With Flexible Display Cover Layers” says the they “may have an outermost layer formed from clear glass, transparent plastic, sapphire, or other transparent materials that serve as a protective layer for thin-film transistor circuitry and other display structures.”
Used in Apple Watches, Sapphire glass is thinner and more durable and scratch-resistant than the Gorilla Glass currently used in most high-end smartphones. The display cover layer (outer shell) may include a layer of self-healing material to “help mitigate the number of dents, scratches, or other imperfections.”
“Self-healing may occur in the layer of self-healing material without prompting (e.g., when the self-healing coating is dented, the material of the coating may fill the dent even without external intervention),” the patent reads. “Alternatively, the self-healing may be initiated or expedited by externally applied heat, light, electric current, or other type of external stimulus.”
The application dated January 28 was published by the US Patent & Trademark Office on October 1.
Back in 2014, the tech giant had also applied to add self-healing technology to its iPhones and iPads, similar to the technology seen on LG’s G Flex handset. Its patent application described a coating as thin as 50 nanometers that flows into scratches and nicks to make them disappear.
That same application also proposes a non-stick coating so objects “slide” off it, as well as a system by which a phone or tablet’s glass display is covered with tiny, convex bumps to absorb scratches.
Apple came up with a system fixing dead pixels on a screen and even dry internal components if they got wet in 2016. The patent also proposed testing a phone’s camera to make sure it’s working properly and reset cellular components if users had issues with texting or getting online. The same application proposed technology that would save users from throwing their iPhone in a bag of rice if they spilled a drink on it. The iPhone 12 is expected to be announced on October 13 and is rumored to be Apple’s first 5G phone.