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Patents Displays Software Hardware Technology

Motorola Patents a Display That Can Heal Its Own Cracked Screen With Heat (theverge.com) 41

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: A patent published today explains how a phone could identify cracks on its touchscreen and then apply heat to the area in an effort to slightly repair the damage. The process relies on something called "shape memory polymer," a material that can apparently become deformed and then recovered through thermal cycling. Thermal cycling involves changing the temperature of the material rapidly. This material could be used over an LCD or LED display with a capacitive touch sensor layered in, as well. Although the phone could heat the polymer in order to restore it, a user's body heat can be used, too.
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Motorola Patents a Display That Can Heal Its Own Cracked Screen With Heat

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That'd be great.

    • Healing cracked glass using heat has always been possible, it just depends on how much heat you're prepared to apply, and whether you care about the rest of the phone remaining in a solid state during the process.
      • by Hidyman ( 225308 )

        It's a solid state phone. I don't think heating it is going to cause the circuitry to change to vacuum tube technology.
        Wait ... I think I misread that.

  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday August 17, 2017 @07:30PM (#55037819)
    And now we're back to putting your phone in the microwave again!
    • This is the first thing I thought. Truthfully, the next wave of "put it in your microwave" pranks will probably use this article, long before the actual technology hits the market. iPhone cracked? Microwave it for 4 minutes at 50% power to heal the screen."
    • by grogger ( 638944 )
      They just need to partner with Samsung - they perfected a rapid heating feature in the Note 7 :-).
  • by Presence Eternal ( 56763 ) on Thursday August 17, 2017 @07:35PM (#55037851)

    Maybe two years ago I was suggesting a customer get a tempered glass screen protector and he says "No, I have a self-healing screen protector. Paid forty bucks for it." He pulls out a phone with a nasty-assed plastic screen protector that was just covered in gouges and bubbles. I couldn't think of anything to say that wasn't insulting, so I just smiled and said "Ahhh."

    The line doesn't perfectly fit, but what came to mind was the quip "Suspension of disbelief does not mean hanging it by the neck till it is dead."

    Just in case any folks here are unaware, use glass or use nothing.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "Just in case any folks here are unaware, use glass or use nothing."

      Fuck no. Use quartz. Withstands scratches better, isn't as brittle as glass (besting tempered glass) and isn't prone to cracking from heat/cold cycling because of its insanely low thermal coefficient of expansion, unlike 'sapphire' screens. It's the shit we used for locomotive coal engine car windows. in WWII. There's an old mine for laminar quartz out in Nuevo, still produces insanely tough quartz. Tough enough that a small boulder destroy

      • Can you give me a product link or pitch or something? I feel like you're talking out your rear end. I don't find any products on Amazon that differentiate themselves as quartz screen protectors, except a few that are using quartz as a branding term, and then say (tempered glass) in the description. Are you talking about future product development?

        I dunno why one should make protectors from quartz. Tempered glass is already cheap and highly scratch resistant. Heck, many claim that Corning's gorilla glass use

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          "I dunno why one should make protectors from quartz."

          Because quartz is much better than tempered glass. Also, good luck breaking true fused quartz. Not like you'd need to do that, the laminar quartz sheets out of the Southern Pacific Quarry (where incidentally you can find arm-thick schorl tourmalines sticking out of the wall) come out in sheets you could just laser-cut now days.

          And I didn't say they made quartz screens NOW, I'm saying they should be making and using them.

          Even tempered safety glass shatters

          • And I didn't say they made quartz screens NOW, I'm saying they should be making and using them.

            Color me skeptical. There's a lot of competition in this space, because broken screens are a huge problem. If laminar quartz (or fused quartz; note that they're different things) were the obvious solution you say, it would be available on the market. About the only way that could not be true is if it were more expensive than simply replacing a broken screen, and even then I'd expect to find it used on devices that bill themselves as ultra-tough.

            But I don't find it being used anywhere. That's a pretty stro

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              " If laminar quartz (or fused quartz; note that they're different things) "

              Not geologically, they're not. Laminar quartz comes from hydrothermal alteration and fusing of cryptocrystalline mass. It is natural fused quartz.

              "But I don't find it being used anywhere. That's a pretty strong indicator that there are some problems with it"

              Most fused quartzes are in use in everything else, right down to scientific glassware and dab rig nails. And quartz withstands breaking far better than sapphire. As you increase

              • " If laminar quartz (or fused quartz; note that they're different things) "

                Not geologically, they're not. Laminar quartz comes from hydrothermal alteration and fusing of cryptocrystalline mass. It is natural fused quartz.

                Fused quartz is a glass, an amorphous fluid structure, meaning that the molecules aren't aligned in any particular way. I believe laminar quartz is a crystal, meaning that the molecules are in a particular pattern. If laminar quartz is not crystalline, then I stand corrected. I can't find any references to indicate what exactly laminar quartz is. Actually, it mostly appears to be a term that fell out of common use about 200 years ago, since all of the Google results that mention it are from early to mid-19t

                • by Khyber ( 864651 )

                  "I believe laminar quartz is a crystal,"

                  It is not. There is no macro-crystalline structure. It is purely cryptocrystalline.

                  "Actually, it mostly appears to be a term that fell out of common use about 200 years ago"

                  And I bet the majority of your findings of the usage of the term came from usage in Locomotives, as back then that was the primary usage. of the material. Then borosilicate glass manufacturing came along, and quartz quickly fell out of use for all but the most demanding things. Laminar Quartz was u

                  • I've got a broken Apple Watch, uses Sapphire glass. My Timex from 30 years ago using fused quartz is still unscathed.

                    Engineering measurements trump anecdotes.

                    You've never used a hydro carb before?

                    No, and neither have you, if you're claiming it increases fuel efficiency.

                    You've never used a hydro carb before? They work (but not at 200 MPG, more like 80 MPG.

                    Bullshit. In high-performance engines that need very high compression ratios, or operate at very high temperatures, water injection can prevent premature detonation, but in normal automobile engines it does nothing but reduce power.

                    Which is why phone manufacturers charge almost the same price of the phone for a screen replacement?

                    Try building a car from replacement parts purchased from a dealer and see what the total cost is.

                    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

                      "Engineering measurements trump anecdotes."

                      Actual experience working with, fusing, coloring, beryllium-treating sapphires (I work in the minerals/lapidary industry) and knowing what they're going to do. Us jewelers have about 5 millennia more experience than todays material engineers. The second you scratch a sapphire gem while cutting it, any stress will fuck it up. Scratch a quartz gem, it'll laugh and ask for more. Even macrocrystaline quartz is just a properly-aligned stack of cryptocrystalline structur

  • You're healing it wrong.

  • That's great because human beings produce 25,000 BTUs of body heat.

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