The days of scratched and cracked smartphone screens could soon be numbered after researchers created a “stretchy” screen that can repair itself.

Researchers at the University of California Riverside have designed a new polymer that can heal itself, opening up the ability to fuse cracks and paper over scratches.

The material can stretch up to 50 times its original size, which means that scratches don’t have to be permanent. When completely cracked it can also stitch itself back together again within 24 hours.

“A self-healing material, when carved in two parts, can go back together like nothing has happened, just like human skin,” said Chao Wang, the researcher behind the creation.

Self healing screen
Before and after of the self-healing material Credit: Wang Labs

It isn’t the first material to have self-healing properties. Some phones are already fitted with similar technology on their cases, such as the LG G Flex. But Wang’s attempt marks the first instance of a regenerating material that can conduct electricity, meaning it could be used for phone screens.

The material can stretch up to 50 times its original size Credit: Wang Labs
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