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Image credit: Motorola

Motorola designed a phone screen that repairs itself

It could put an end to (some) expensive repairs.

Motorola doesn't just want to make phone screens that are shatter-resistant... if it has its way, what cracks that do show up could be fixed on the spot. It recently applied for a patent on a phone screen whose shape memory polymer heals damage when you subject it to rapid changes in heat. The phone itself could produce the heat (Motorola even envisions an app that tells the phone where to start repairs), but your body heat, a dock or a plug-in panel might also work.

This seems like a dream for anyone who's ever smashed a phone screen. However, there are bound to be a few caveats. First, of course, is that this is a patent application -- there's no guarantee that Motorola or parent company Lenovo has something in the cards. And just like Motorola's anti-shatter screens, this may be an exercise in compromise. A polymer screen probably won't feel as nice to the touch as glass, and the technology never completely restores the screen's strength. If you're a butterfingers type, you might still have to take your phone in after enough abuse. This beats having to pay through the nose for a single fix, though, and it could easily make sense for rugged devices where drops are virtually expected.

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