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Apple files patent for foldable electronic device that has a ‘self-healing’ screen

Is Apple developing a foldable iPhone with a self-healing screen?

On May 21, 2024, Apple published the patent they applied for for a foldable electronic device that would have a “self-healing” protective screen. The screen of this foldable device can restore minor scratches or dents on its own without the need for external help or repair. It can be automatically repaired by completing the damage without the user’s help. The screen self-healing process can be accelerated by using external triggers such as heat, light, or electrical current.

In case heat is used to activate the self-healing material, the screen cover may have a heating layer made of transparent conduits, which can heat themselves to help the self-healing screen return to its original, unharmed state. . In the patent filing, Apple did not indicate which device this technology would be applied to. with the brand Fans are already showing their version. of a folding iPhoneApple has a series of this sought after smartphone That it can be folded using a hinge may be an imminent future. But in the patent description, the foldable electronic device is not limited to a smartphone, as it can also be a tablet, laptop, handheld device, or computer.

Foldable electronic device with self-healing screen and Apple patent
Images courtesy of Apple (patent file number 11991901)

Apple’s patent on a foldable electronic device with a flexible screen

The heating layer can be activated when the user activates it using the foldable electronic device, such as by pressing a button or using a touch command. In this case, Apple You may be using a dedicated setup or app to make it work. Users will also be able to set the heating time for the screen to repair itself, programmed as an alarm. The self-healing screen may also become hot even when the foldable electronic device is plugged in or charging.

In the patent, Apple’s filing team, consisting of Hoon Sik Kim, Terry C. Lam, Chang-Chia Huang, Paul S. Drzaic, Yasmin F. Afsar, Young Cheol Yang and Leiming Wang, says the foldable electronic device It has a screen. which extends along the hinge, so the plan is for the cover of this screen, the top layer, to come with a flexible section that allows users to bend and bend it without breaking. The device may have a transparent layer called a “transparent dielectric layer” that can help insulate and protect the screen.

Foldable electronic device with self-healing screen and Apple patent
Side views of foldable electronic device with flexible and self-healing screens.

A device that can repair small scratches and dents on its own

To make the screen more flexible, the transparent layer of the screen has small cuts or indentations. These small openings are filled with a translucent material that matches the optical properties of the surrounding material, so the screen still looks clear and smooth. The flexible part of the screen is placed between two rigid parts of the cover to enable bending. The self-healing screen comes next. Apple believes it is important to reduce scratches and dents that users or external factors can cause on the foldable electronic device. With this technology, the self-healing protective screen repairs minor scratches and dents on its own to keep your screen smooth and looking new.

From patents In the statement, the Apple team writes that the self-healing display can cover the entire screen of the foldable electronic device or only its flexible hinged part. It is also planned to apply an elastomer, an elastic rubber-like material, to the flexible part of the screen to make it more flexible. The self-healing display sits on top of this elastomer layer, creating a dual protective layer for the display of the potential next iPhone series. There are no official announcements yet from Apple on when they will introduce or launch this so-called “self-healing” display and whether or not they will produce foldable iPhones.

Foldable electronic device with self-healing screen and Apple patent
The possible electronic device, which may be a smartphone, laptop or other electronic device.

Foldable electronic device with self-healing screen and Apple patent
a screen cover with three dielectric layers for the flexible part of the screen

Foldable electronic device with self-healing screen and Apple patent
View of the transparent dielectric layer with slits.

Foldable electronic device with self-healing screen and Apple patent
view of screen cover with refractive index matching layers

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