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Coming soon: the self-healing smartphone

Accident-prone consumers rejoice: scientists have developed a polymer that can repair itself when broken.

gadgets Updated: Sep 17, 2013 11:17 IST

Accident-prone consumers rejoice: scientists have developed a polymer that can repair itself when broken.

A group of Spanish scientists, aware that the development could give some people nightmares about the coming threat of the singularity and of humanoid killing machines traveling back in time to divert the direction of the coming future, have dubbed the polymer the ‘Terminator’ in recognition of its similarities to the robot played by Robert Patrick in "Terminator 2."

They stress that its purpose will be to bring an indestructible quality to everyday plastic objects, rather than to facilitate the development of Skynet, and it works by rebuilding broken cross-sectional bonds. What it means is that as well as minor blemishes and imperfections, the polymer is capable of rebuilding itself even when cut in half, as this video demonstrates





What makes the breakthrough so significant is that although the Terminator isn’t the first self healing material developed in a lab, it is the first plastic polymer that can do so with 97% accuracy that doesn’t need some sort of external catalyst or heat source.

It is capable of naturally repairing itself, without intervention at room temperature. As a result, as well as being the ideal material for building smartphones or laptop cases, it could be the perfect solution for building hard-wearing parts for cars and other mechanical devices.