Screen protector designed to stay clear by healing its own scratches

Thin viscuous film closes in over scratches, healing screen protector up to 20,000 times

A Japanese thin-film manufacturer is getting ready to move into high-volume production of a new protective screen designed to protect the screen on your smartphone and heal itself as well.

The Self-cure Coat Film from Toray Advanced Film Co Ltd. is designed to solve the problem of smartphone screens that become almost unreadable even when they're protected from scratches that eventually turn the clear film protecting their screens opaque.

When Toray's Self-cure Coat Film is scratched it can heal itself in about 10 seconds, according to the company.

The ultra-thin film can keep repairing its own surface as many as 20,000 times, according to information from Toray.

The base material similar to the transparent, flexible PET (polyethylene terephthalate) that other screen protectors use.

On top is a highly elastic, viscous coating that flows around and refills the space where the scratch had been.

The material allows the film to repair scratches, but only if they don't penetrate through the film itself. Scratches that reach the surface of the screen itself can't be completely repaired.

Toray, which makes a stunning variety of thin films for different industrial uses, expects to sell about $24 million worth of Self-cure Coat Film in 2014, but didn't invent anything shockingly new to get its screen protector to heal itself.

"We made improvements to materials that are said to have a self-restoring function. We analyzed the mechanism of repairing scratches and applied it to the design of the film," the announcement said.

The film itself is 125 nanometers thick; the repair layer is "several tens of micrometers" thick.

Toray didn't say anything about cost, but did estimate it would be able to produce several hundred-thousand square meters of the stuff per year in its Fukushima factory.

In demonstrations earlier today Toray execs ran a video showing the film healing scratches from a wire brush. Toray didn't release the video, the Daily Mail pointed out, so the video could be independently verified.

This image shows the film on a black device after being wire-brushed.

Toray will demonstrate and formally announce the self-healing screen protector at a trade show in Tokyo this week (the Highly-functional Film Technology Expo April 11 to 13, 2012 in case you're in the neighborhood).

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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