Go Swimming with Your Phone with this Material

There’s a new coating in the market that could make mobile phones waterproof. It can protect the delicate electronics of your mobile phone. Now getting your phone wet is no longer a disaster.

Have you ever experienced accidentally dropping your phone in the toilet? When your phone gets wet, do you spend hours with the hair dryer trying to speed up the drying process while saying a prayer that your phone will work after so that you won’t miss any important calls or text?

With this coating, the phone can survive damage even when submerged in water for days.

How it works

The components are coated with a protective layer that is just a few atoms thick. This coating is impervious to water or air. Devices that are treated this way can be left submerged in salt water for months without damaging the electronic components.

According to Professor Samuel Graham of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the coating was stable in a number of liquids and in warm damp conditions.

The technique is called atomic layer deposition. It creates a better barrier against water. The components are surrounded with gaseous atoms from a metal and then form a layer over the electronic parts. This layer is then oxidised. This layer which is 6,000x thinner than human hair prevents water from getting to the sensitive parts.

In one study, the professor submerged electronic sensors in water for 10 days and they were still fine. The coating can be transparent so they can be used on displays too.

What it means to consumers

Basically, we can extend the lifetime and reliability of our phones. If this can be developed for other gadgets then all electronic devices will be protected. Most mobile phones are splash resistant. Meaning, they can probably survive the shower but not the swimming pool. In order to fully protect a phone from water damage, a separate case is needed.

Ordinary cameras and smartphones can now be used and enjoyed underwater without any problems. This coating can also be used to protect implantable biomedical devices like pace makers to extend their reliability.

Smartphones that are already waterproof, say the Sony Xperia ZR, can be improved. This model can already survive a depth of 1.5 metres for half an hour but with this new coating, this device can survive for months being submerged.