Self-healing cases should be standard on every smartphone and tablet

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Scratches. I hate scratches! I hate them on my screen. I hate them on my case. I hate scratches! To help combat scratches on screens we have devices with Gorilla Glass and oleophobic coatings, but the backs of our phones and tablets seem to get nicked, marred, scratched, even gouged, and the only thing we can do is put them in some sort of protective case. Why can’t there be a self healing phone?

I was first introduced to self-healing materials when I saw an educational program about a gas tank that can literally repair itself when it’s punctured. How good is it? It was developed for military supply vehicles and designed to recover from gun shots. It was really quite impressive! That started me thinking: if we can protect tankers hauling gasoline from bullets fired from machine guns, why can’t we protect our smartphones from scratches?!

Apparently I wasn’t alone in my ponderings. LG not only started working on something to do just that, they’ve already released it to the market. But is it any good? Spoiler alert: YES! Take a look!

Introduced with its G Flex smartphone, LG created a self-healing back cover that lets the device recover from what LG is calling “light scratches”. It takes a minute or two and works faster in warmer conditions that colder ones, but the results are impressive: a like-new looking phone, even after having been subjected to the tortures of your pocket — or a brass brush, as illustrated in their video.

Over time the self-healing abilities of the G Flex will undoubtedly start to fade, and deep scratches will likely remain permanently. Compared to where we are now, that’s fantastic! Our phones will look newer, feel newer, and hopefully last longer. When it comes time to sell them or pass them on, the new owner will have a phone that looks like its in better shape than any phone of similar age.

Matte vs. Glossy

I’ve been a fan of matte cases when compared to their glossy counterparts. Why? They’re more “grippy” for starters, but they also seem to hide scratches better than shiny ones. The G Flex, however, has a fairly glossy back, and it somehow still manages to hide the scratches.

How well did it do? In LG’s controlled test, the temperature was quite warm — 80-degrees Fahrenheit (27-degrees Celsius). Cooler temperatures make the healing take longer. Even still, surface scratches, even a lot of them, healed within minutes, but deeper scratches can take hours to “dissipate” — deep wounds didn’t heal completely. That’s okay. If I get a gouge in my phone I’ll settle for it looking like a minor scratch after a while, it’s better than a deep gouge, right?

The big problem with this technology today is that it’s only available on one phone. I want this on every phone and every tablet that I own! And I want it yesterday! Hopefully third-party case and cover manufacturers will be able to come up with similar technologies or will license the tech that LG is using so everyone can have access to this miracle of technology.

For now, however, we wait.


Can’t get enough of the LG G Flex? Michael Fisher goes on the record with three reasons why he wants the G Flex more than the Nexus 5, and why Stephen Schenck considers a folding phone to be his dream handset

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.