MacDirectory Magazine

Stephen Hanson

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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What is a 'Self-Healing Display' and Why Does Apple Want One? By Tyler Lacoma Apple has filed a patent for one of the more interesting technologies we've seen that could say a lot about some of their intended products: It's a self-healing touchscreen material for the iPhone. Yeah, we bet you have some questions – continue reading to learn what we know. 4. What is a Self-Healing Display? Ideally, it's a display that can recover from scratches and small dents by healing itself and smoothing so that screen quality doesn't change. Apple's patent points to a top layer that would essentially absorb scratches before they could damage sensitive panels beneath, and then reform automatically (or perhaps under certain conditions) to wipe the scratch away. The layer would, of course, have to enable touchscreen sensitivity and couldn't impair the image – basically, you wouldn't know it was there. 3. How Does This Technology Work, Anyway? The patent does dive into some interesting specifics if you want to get a little nerdy with the science. Essentially, the self-healing layer is made of an incredible number of transparent conductors caught between two "dielectric layers" which are made out of a special polymer that has the ability to reform into a particular state. Currently, that layer needs a trigger, an outside stimulus that can run through the layer via the conductors and activate the coating. Based on the patent, Apple is looking into using heat as the stimulus but indicates that an electrical current may also be possible. One of the end goals is to enable the healing factor whenever the iPhone is plugged in for charging, so users don't have to take any extra steps. This also indicates that Apple has probably moved beyond the "idea" stage for the patent, and might be working with a few different prototype screens to develop a version that could work.

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