Worry no more about scratched and chipped smartphone cases: Nissan has announced a new case for the Apple iPhone that can “heal” small nicks in its surface. The self-healing surface works thanks to Nissan’s Smart Shield automotive paint that debuted on Infiniti and some Nissan vehicles.
Nissan first developed its Smart Shield paint finish in cooperation with the University of Tokyo and Advanced Softmaterials Inc. It’s offered on the Nissan 370Z, Murano, and X-Trail, as well as Infiniti vehicles. When the paint is damaged, elastic paint fibers (made primarily from a material called polyrotaxane) can “react” and fill in the scratched or chipped blemish.
According to Nissan, small scratches heal themselves in a few hours, while larger damage can take up to a week to “self heal.”
The iPhone cases, which will fit both the 4 and 4GS versions of Apple’s popular phone, aren’t actually available yet. Currently, a small group of journalists and consumers in Europe are beta-testing the Smart Shield cases. If response is positive, Nissan will start selling the cases later this year. The case is made from ABS plastic and, although the case itself is self-healing, it doesn’t protect against scratching or cracking the iPhone’s screen.
Nissan also will license the technology to Japanese cellphone provider NTT DoCoMo, which will apply the Smart Shield self-healing finish to the Style Series N-03B phone. The first 100 prototype examples of the iPhone case will be distributed at a Ministry of Sound party in Dubai to celebrate the launch of Nissan’s 160-mph Juke-R — hence the Juke and Ministry of Sound logos seen in these photos.