Nissan demos self-healing iPhone case

Finds a novel use for its Scratch Shield paint technology

17 Jan 2012
Nissan iPhone case

Nissan is a name more usually associated with motor vehicles, but the company's latest announcement marks something of a departure for the brand: a self-healing iPhone case.

Developed using the same self-healing technology as found in the company's Scratch Shield paint line, co-developed in partnership with the University of Tokyo and Advanced Softmaterials, the case is constructed of ABS plastic with a clever layer of self-healing paint.

The Scratch Shield paint, Nissan claims, offers a range of benefits: a gel-like tactile finish makes it more scratch resistant than traditional glossy paint finishes and offers a better grip, while the use of polyrotaxane means that any scratches that do mar the surface are 'melted' away as the paint changes its chemical structure to fill the gap.

"We like to think laterally by taking the great innovations we've got from an automotive point of view, and looking at how they could be applied to improve everyday issues," boasted Bob Laishley, overseas programme director of business development at Nissan. "The Scratch Shield iPhone case is a great example of us taking a Nissan automotive technology that has had a huge impact for our customers, and then shifting the boundaries to apply it to another everyday product."

Originally developed in 2005, the Scratch Shield paint technology is already in use on a range of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, but this newest iPhone case marks the first non-automotive application for the technology in Europe.

Sadly, there are a few caveats: first, the current-model cases are very much beta products, with Nissan creating only a limited number as a proof of concept; secondly, the technology can only cope with 'fine' scratches, and while smaller scratches can be healed in as little as an hour larger damage can take up to a week to repair.

Nissan claims that if demand for the case is strong enough, it will look to put them on general sale later this year; so far, however, it has not offered a suggestion as to price.

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