Apple has reportedly acquired a patent for a display material that has self-healing properties. It could be used in the future foldable smartphone from the iPhone-maker. This material is reported to help the display recover from scratches as well as dents and might be a groundbreaking technology as far as the foldable smartphones go. Currently, Samsung has the lion's share of foldable smartphones in the market globally and it uses a special material to protect the foldable display from external factors and provide them durability.
As per a report by Patently Apple, the self-healing material layer may be included in the display cover layer of the folding iDevice. It could be made of elastomer. The layer could be present either in the flexible region of the cover display or on the full display. The report also mentions that self-healing may occur in the layer of self-healing material without prompting.
This could mean that if and when the cover layer is dented or scratched, the self-healing material included in the cover layer could fix the anomaly without an external intervention from the user. The report also notes that “self-healing may be initiated or expedited by externally applied heat, light, electric current, or other type of external stimulus.”
For example, let us assume a situation when the cover layer of the above-mentioned iDevice gets damaged by a scratch or dent. In order to offer a seamless touch experience, the cover layer should be without anomalies. The layer of self-healing material may use heat as a stimulus for the self-healing process. “The heating layer may be used to generate heat in response to user input, according to a predetermined schedule, or when the electronic device is charging,” the report says.
It has also been mentioned that the display cover layer may also include a transparent dielectric layer with slits. The slits may be filled with an index-matching material. In the flexible portion, these slits may help in increasing the flexibility of the display cover layer.
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