Smartphone cases are getting to be as high tech as the devices they protect.
Nissan has unveiled the Nissan Scratch Shield iPhone case, which is a plastic shell coated with flexible polyrotaxane, a type of paint used on Nissan cars. According to Discovery News, this "highly elastic resin" boasts a "chemical structure capable of mending itself by changing back to its original form and filling in gaps from scratches." This mending process can take as little as an hour for shallow scratches, while deeper cuts may take a week to fill in.
Whether or not self-healing paint on cars actually works appears to be somewhat debatable. Posts on an Autopia forum claim that the concept is a marketing gimmick: "That paint is a joke, it does not heal itself," wrote one commenter. Another said the scratches reappeared after the paint, which is heat-activated, cooled. Nissan did not indicate in its press release whether the iPhone cases' paint needed be heated in order to heal.
TechCrunch reports that "self-healing" paint has been used on Nissan cars since 2005. This isn't the car-maker's first creative application of an automotive innovation. Miniature Thermal Imaging Sensors were originally designed to detect the presence of animals and people near your car in order to make it safer to drive at night. Now, the technology has been used to create a device that remotely monitors potentially dangerous temperature variations in electrical equipment.
"We like to think laterally by taking the great innovations we've got from an automotive point of view, and looking at how they could be applied to improve everyday issues," Nissan's Bob Laishley, overseas program director for business development, said in a press release.
The case is still in beta testing but according to Forbes, if reactions are positive, Nissan plans to release the cases this year. The company may even expand the use of the self-healing paint to other products, reports PC World.
In the video below, check out research being done by a team of scientists on the next generation of self-healing paint, which can heal huge cuts in seconds.