Smartphones with ‘self-healing’ displays will arrive within five years, analysts predict


In its roundup of top tech predictions for 2024 and beyond, CCS Insight said that it expects smartphone makers to begin producing phones with “self-healing” displays within five years.

The way this could work is by incorporating a “nano-coating” on the surface of the display that, if scratched, creates a new material that reacts when exposed to air and fills in the imperfection.

Companies have been talking about smartphone display technology that can be self-repaired for several years now.
There are some new technologies that people are working on right now that look as though this could become something that people have another go with. We’re not talking about smashed screens miraculously coming back. This is all just little cosmetic scratches,” Wood told CNBC.

A few other phone makers have touted self-healing materials in smartphones. In 2017, Motorola filed a patent for a screen made from a “shape memory polymer” which, when cracked, repairs itself. The idea is that, when heat is applied to the material, it heals over the cracks.
Meanwhile, Apple
 also previously secured a patent for a folding iPhone with a display cover that would fix itself when damaged.

Still, the technology is yet to be found in a commercially successful handset. And there are a few barriers to launching such phones at a mass scale.

For one, companies require lots of investment in research and development to ensure they can identify new innovations in smartphone screens. Cash is also required to market and sell the phones in big volumes — and ensure consumers are actually properly informed about what level of damage in the phones can be fixed without any manual intervention.

Wood jokingly said he fears that tech tear-down enthusiasts like the popular YouTuber Jerry Rigs Everything will take a knife to test their self-healing capabilities. This, he says, isn’t the point of self-healing devices. Rather, it’s about technology that can make minimal repairs to the surface of its own accord.

Phone makers are getting more and more inventive when it comes to display technology. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Motorola released a rollable concept smartphone that extends vertically when pushed upward.