Go Forth and Heal Thyself

The coolest new thing that you probably haven’t heard of yet: self-healing paint. The Japanese car manufacturer Nissan was the first to introduce the technology, which was released last year. Their debut commercial is pretty cool; it looks like a regular ad for a car, but on your tablet or phone, when you are trying to swipe left it causes you to “scratch” the car. It has paint-scratch sound effects and everything. Then slowly, the scratches disappear. Nissan currently only offers the new paint on a select few models. Self-healing paint sounds so futuristic that it doesn’t sound real. Now it’s a reality; in the car world and slowly expanding everywhere else too.

LG released their “G Flex” smartphone this year which featured a self-healing exterior. This is huge in the world of smartphones; as most of us live in fear of scratching our phones while carrying them in our pockets and purses. There have been quite a few tests on the LG Flex, mostly with mixed results. Most of the reviews have been positive, as long as the scratches are small and shallow. Deeper scratches will not repair themselves. Another drawback is that the paint has been described as “soft” so when the phone does take a fall there is a good chance that the scratch might be more like a gouge. Like any new technology though, I’m sure improvements will be made.

The polyurethane coating is rumored to be surprisingly affordable to make. The paint itself relies on UV-Rays from the sun to activate a compound called “chitoson,” which is made from the exoskeleton of crustaceans. This compound mixed with UV light activates polymers in the paint which in turn begins the healing process.

This new technology should work well in all types of environments, but climate may affect the repair time. Scratches on both the car and the phone can take anywhere from an hour up to a week to repair themselves, all depending on factors like heat and the severity of the damage. Some users found that using a hairdryer helped speed the process along.

This is definitely one of the coolest new technologies today. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it catches on like wildfire; and soon enough all of our cars and electronics will be “scratch-free.”

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