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Self-Healing Display Detailed in New Apple Patent for Potential Future Foldable iPhones

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A new patent details a self-healing material that could make a folding iPhone happen.

The patent application, published by the US Patent & Trademark Office on October 1, envisions a new type of screen arrangement capable of repairing dents, scratches and “other imperfections,” all on its own.

According to the application — spotted by Patently Apple — the new patent covers a display that would be self-healing, allowing it to hide any little marks that could be picked up during normal use:

During operation of an electronic device, the display cover layer for the electronic device may be scratched or dented. To improve the aesthetics of the electronic device, it may be desirable for the presence of scratches and dents to be minimized. To help mitigate the number of dents, scratches, or other imperfections in a display cover layer, the display cover layer may include a layer of self-healing material.

The patent application describes how damage can be minimized as and when it happens. The patent is titled “Electronic Devices With Flexible Display Cover Layers” and explains how the display could feature a flexible cover layer:

The flexible portion of the display cover layer may be interposed between first and second rigid portions of the display cover layer. The display cover layer may also include a layer with self-healing properties. The layer of self-healing material may be formed across the entire display cover layer or may be formed only in the flexible region of the display cover layer. The display cover layer may include a layer of elastomer in the flexible region of the display cover layer for increased flexibility.

Furthermore, the pace of the self-healing process can be increased by “externally applied heat, light, electric current or other stimuli.” Apple suggests the display will be made up of three parts, including two regular displays, one fixed screen, and the rotating mechanism:

During the operation of an electronic device, the display cover layer for the electronic device may be scratched or dented. To improve the aesthetics of the electronic device, it may be desirable for the presence of scratches and dents to be minimized. To help mitigate the number of dents, scratches, or other imperfections in a display cover layer, the display cover layer may include a layer of self-healing material.

The feature sounds almost too good to be true and, sure enough, the document doesn’t go into a great deal of depth into how it could be achieved. However, the fact that Apple is looking into a solution for the curse of fragile smartphone screens is promising.

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