Thinking Tech

A waterproof smartphone? Amazing spray coating makes it possible [video]

A waterproof smartphone? Amazing spray coating makes it possible [video]

Posting in Technology

With Neverwet's coating, chocolate syrup slides off a clean shoe and an iPhone still works while submerged underwater.

Neverwet, a new spray coating, can turn almost anything waterproof. Like seriously waterproof, as in messy sauces, juice, ink and oil don't just bead off -- they shoot off the surface. It's also anti-corrosive, sending even bacteria and ice running and screaming for the hills.

While there are a host of water-resistant coatings and products available, most only offer hydrophobic properties and fall short of the litmus test to be considered "waterproof." Ross Technologies claims that their silicon-based product is superhydrophobic, meaning it repels liquids at a very high "contact angle" (175 degrees), which is the distance wedged between a water droplet and the surface. So the higher the contact angle, the rounder the water droplet.

The secret to how the patent-pending technology works is a proprietary arrangement of nanoparticles that turns water droplets into near-perfect spheres. Originally, researchers at the company had set about developing a material that would prevent steel from corroding and realized that such a product might also work on a variety of surfaces, including fabrics. They eventually came up with a separate coating that can be applied just about anywhere.

To demonstrate Neverwet's mighty water, stain and dirt-repelling abilities, the company has produced a series of mini-infomercials where spilled water scurries away in terror, chocolate syrup simply slides off a treated shoe and a coated iPhone is shown to still work while submerged underwater -- even after half an hour. The company says that the coating is exceptionally durable, stating on their website that "NeverWet™ coatings have remained under seawater for over a year and reemerged completely dry."

The final product isn't scheduled to hit the market until sometime next year. But if it lives up to the hype, mustard stains won't stand a chance.

Contributor’s Note: Inspired by the upcoming Holiday season and emails from readers, I will occasionally spotlight and preview innovative game-changing new products that may be the perfect gift for you or someone you know. Check back or sign up for SmartPlanet's newsletter for news and updates on more smart products.

(via CNET, NeverWet)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure