Clumsy smartphone users rejoice: polymer scientists at the University of Akron have developed a film that makes smartphone screens shatterproof, according to a statement from the university.
The research team, led by UA Associate Professor of Polymer Science Dr. Yu Zhu, found that a layer of electrodes on a polymer surface can produce a tough, flexible display without interfering with touch sensitivity. The film has demonstrated its toughness and flexibility through several tests, including being bent 1,000 times while still retaining its shape.
Currently, most phone screens have a coating made from indium tin oxide (ITO). However, these coatings are brittle and expensive to manufacture. In contrast, Zhu believes the new film can be manufactured more cheaply due to the fact that it can be mass-produced in large rolls due to its flexibility.
Although no specific timetable has been established for commercial release, Zhu is confident that the film will be a strong competitor to ITO coatings in the near future.
“The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touchscreen,” Zhu said a statement.