Scientists Develop Magnetized Ink That Lets Gadgets Self-Heal When Broken

Posted Nov 5, 2016
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Wouldn’t it be cool if gadgets had the same ability as the Wolverine? To be able to piece themselves back together after being broken? Well, researchers have figured out a way in which the gadgets can actually heal themselves.

The engineering lab team at the University of California, San Diego, is trying to achieve that by formulating a magnetized ink. The ink consists of magnetized particles which will attract each other in order to retain and regain the original form of the object, thus allowing the object to self-heal itself. The ink will be accompanied with sensors which will automatically allow the pieces to attach to each other at the first sign of disintegration.

How does it work?

This self-healing effect is brought upon by the use of pulverized neodymium magnets in the ink, most often found in refrigerators and hard drives. This process is a lot faster than the conventional method of heating chemicals, which would take up to hours a day.

Amay Bandodkar, a member of the team, has compared the ink’s self-healing ability to that of our very own skin. He estimated that about $10 worth of ink can create “hundreds of small devices”. This will help in waste reduction, because the need for throwing broken gadgets will reduce after the self-healing ink comes into action.

“Within a few seconds, it’s going to self-heal, and you can use it over and over again” said Bandodkar.

The team is focusing on formulating the best ink ratios to use for further gadget-printing applications, aiming high enough to one day, make solar panels and medical implants with the ink.

Here is a sample video which shows a light bulb sensor splitting into two but the ink in the sensor pulls it back together and lights it up again. They also published a study in which they focused on inserting the ink in fabrics, allowing them to patch up cuts up to three millimeters long in fifty milliseconds.

Soon enough, your technology may not need customer care services for minor replacements of worn out parts in your gadgets.

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/3/13511486/magnetic-ink-self-heal-broken-gadgets

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