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Water and technology seldomly go well together, but new technology could yet marry the two.
Many of us know the scenario only too well. The one where you let out a cry of anguish as you accidentally drop your smartphone into the swimming pool. Or perhaps it’s the washing machine that does the damage, with your phone coming out cleaner but a lot less useful. Or, most embarrassingly, there are those accidents in the bathroom. But a new process developed by US-based Liquipel could make these tales of woe a thing of the past.
Representatives from the Californian company showcased a patent-pending process that makes electronic devices waterproof at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. People watched in awe as iPhones were immersed in water only to emerge unchanged and in perfect working order. Liquipel co-president Kevin Bacon says, ‘Our electronics have become an extension of who we are. Why then should we be limited by the environments and situations in which we are able to use them? Liquipel is changing all of that.’
The process uses the latest advancements in nanotechnology, which is the engineering of functional systems at a nano or molecular scale. The liquid-repelling ‘nano-coating’ that has been created is 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, is invisible to the eye and will last the life of the device.
The company’s website lists 11 different kinds of smartphones – including iPhones, Droids and the Samsung Charge – that can currently be treated with the protective process. As well as applying the process to assembled devices, it can be integrated into the manufacturing line itself, and the company says it is in talks with many different manufacturers.
We will have to wait and see which will be the first devices to be waterproofed, but consumers in the US can get their phone treated by Liquipel for $59 (£38). The UK must wait in hope, though, as the firm has yet to announce plans for its availability here.