Motorola Phones May Soon Have Self Repairing Displays
The Motorola flagship, the Moto Z2 Force was launched on 10 August 2017 with a shatter-resistant coating on the display and a dual camera setup. Though the shatterproof tech can survive a few drops and bumps, but it isn’t strictly “shatterproof “. Therefore, Motorola has reportedly decided to take display protection a step further.
A newly-filed patent shows that Motorola is planning to build a thermal self-repairing phone, covered with shape memory polymer materials or ‘Smart Glass’.The self repairing tech will detect cracks on its external smart glass and notify the user. The user will then mark the damage area using the fingertip, while heat from the phone will be applied to the smart glass in order to repair the damage.
In the above image, Motorola described the process of the phone’s self-repair with thermal elements. The heat from the phone will trigger the smart glass’s shape memory properties, hence reversing the damage.
The FIG. 12 shows a user identifying the damage by encircling the crack on the smart glass. The phone can then identify the segments which need to be reset, and where to apply heat.
Though the self healing smart glass is a big step forward, Motorola described in the filed patent that the tech will “reverse at least some deformation”, and not all. As it would be difficult to reverse the damage on shattered screens. Safe to say, the thermal self repairing tech may not be able to fix the smart glass if it is completely broken or a a chunk of the screen is chipped out.
Even though original patent papers for the thermal self healing technology have surfaced, it will be a while before we witness the tech in a phone. It also appears that this patent was filed way back in or before 2011 as it features dockable phones like the Motorola Atrix which were launched back then. This means that Motorola has wanted to solve this problem for a while. If this technology does appear from the Motorola stable, hopefully they will license it out to the other big manufacturers namely Apple and Samsung, who have had major issues with broken smartphone displays.