A cracked screen is more than any other, the kind of damage that puts phones out of action for good. We all dread the realisation that our beloved smartphone will be scarred forever with a spider web of cracks, after something as simple a short fall onto hard ground. Luckily there might just be an end in sight to this unsightly and unfortunate menace.
As a cracked screen is the most likely point of failure on a phone, there are many teams around the world working on a solution to ease this burden on consumers. Among these researchers, a team from the University of Akron in the USA has detailed research which they believe is our best hope for a completely ‘shatterproof’ phone screen.
Their technology uses nano-scale electrodes printed on top of a panel of flexible glass. What makes these electrodes different from previous panels, is that they are printed in an interconnected and flexible polymer panel, which in tests proved to be incredibly resistant to torsion and breakage.
"The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all."
Currently, most phones make use of Iridium-Tin Oxide (ITO) electrodes, which, due to their physical properties, are comparatively brittle. The technology developed by the University of Akron however, as well as being a better conductor than ITO, should also be cheaper to manufacture. This will make it something likely to be rapidly adopted by tech manufacturing companies, which are facing ever thinning margins on their products due to intense competition.
An associate professor from the University of Akron team, Yu Zhu commented in a press release:
"We expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor [...] The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touchscreen."
While it might still be a few years yet, it is looking more and more like the days of shattered smartphone screen are numbered.
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