Who hasn’t dropped their phone? And it happened right before you bought your awesome new case, yes?
Because this is such a common and unbelievably infuriating mishap, scientists hit their labs in full force to try to come up with something to remedy the issue. And it looks like they finally hit the target.
According to Business Insider, the chemists at the University of California Riverside created a material for phone screens that is self-healing. No, seriously.
These researchers reportedly conducted several experiments and were shocked at the results. After the material was torn in half, it stitched itself back together in less than 24 hours. Chao Wang, the lead chemist on this project told Business Insider that the material can balloon up to 50 times its original size. It’s reportedly made of a stretchable polymer and an ionic salt, and features a certain type of bond called dipole interaction.
That bond is a force between polar molecules and charged ions, according to Business Insider, which means that the ions and molecules will be attracted to one another and that enables them to heal a crack, break or scratch.
Wang told Business Insider that this material is the first of its kind. While some phones, including LG branded ones, already use a “self-healing” material on back covers, it’s unable to conduct electricity and therefore can’t be used for a screen.
Most phones on the market use Gorilla Glass, according to The Independent, but it typically shatters on impact and leaves users with two choices: buy a new phone or get the broken one repaired. Neither option is cheap.
This new self-healing material is expected to be utilized by 2020, and it can’t come soon enough.
“Self-healing materials may seem far away for real application, but I believe they will come out very soon with cellphones,” Wang told Business Insider. “Within three years, more self-healing products will go to market and change our everyday life. It will make our cell phones achieve much better performance than what they can achieve right now.”