We’ve all had that moment when we’ve heard the crack, the snap or the crunch. Be it your favourite USB drive, your screen or even your laptop, accidents happen and things get damaged. The worst part about this is it’s normally one or two small things that stop you from using that technology again, but what if that changed? What if when you saw your USB stick crunch into a weird shape, you held it together and found it still worked?
Thanks to research scientists at Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, you could soon see that happening with technology and more. Revealed as the first of its kind, the researchers have managed to develop a self-healing gel that not only repairs and connects electronic circuits but can also carry a charge within itself. The gel not only carries a charge but also repairs itself without external stimuli, such as having to shine a light or heating up the gel, meaning that you wouldn’t have to put your phone on the radiator to fix it. The image shows the gel even holding its own, after being cut in half.
Guihua Yu, a mechanical engineering assistant professor at Cockrell School, stated the gel could be used at ‘soft joints’. The gel could even be applied overtop of traditional joins in hardware, allowing you to continue using old technology while allowing the self-repairing gel to go to work.
Imagine if we had these in the old sliding phones, the ones where the ribbon connecting the screen broke every few months. That’s just the tip of the gel pack for this technology, what would you like to see this technology used for?