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When we think of Nissan, we think of cars. But now the Japanese company wants us to think of iPhone cases too.
On Monday it announced the Nissan Scratch Shield iPhone case, describing it as “self-healing.” This means that if you’re unfortunate enough to accidentally scratch it, it will actually mend itself, with small scratches healing in as little as one hour, and deeper ones taking up to a week.
The technology, developed by Nissan in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and Advanced Softmaterials Inc., involves a special kind of paint already used on a number of Nissan cars.
“The outer ‘paint’ is made from polyrotaxane,” Nissan explains on its website, “which means that when damage occurs to the coating in the form of a fine scratch, the chemical structure is able to react to change back to its original shape and fill the gap – ‘healing’ the blemish.”
It’s the first time it’s been used with a non-automotive product and has the added benefit of being easier to grip than the iPhone’s glossy surface. Nissan also claims that the plastic used for the case is more rigid and robust than other plastics.
Bob Laishley, overseas program director of business development for Nissan in Europe, said of the new case, “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,” adding, “We’re really excited about the possibilities provided by this technology.”
Of course, there are plenty of rubber iPhone cases out there that protect Apple’s smartphone adequately and which are also immune to scratches. But we can well imagine that a case which you can scratch and watch heal will be a hit with consumers, and the first one that will have iPhone owners around the world deliberately running their device over rough surfaces just to be able to witness it magically mend itself—although that does sound rather like watching paint dry, when you come to think of it.