Is there anyone who hasn't wrecked some electronic device by getting it wet?
Well, it looks like a cure could soon be on the way after UK Ministry of Defence scientists announced they are ready to offer the mass market a remarkable protective layer previously reserved for military equipment which repels liquids and gas.
Dubbed 'Ion-Mask', the layer can bond to a device using either plasma or electronically charged gas and the chemical properties it possesses make it impossible for moisture to leak inside. Interestingly, Ion-Mask can be used to protect individual components for extra security and would be a boon for modern mobile electronics which tend to be too svelte or sensitive to be fitted with standard waterproof seals.
According to the Telegraph, three mobile phone manufacturers are already in talks with the scientist's spin off company 'P2i Labs' about using the coating in their products.
"Mobile phones and MP3 players are too small to be fitted with seals to make them waterproof, so water inevitably can creep in," said Ian Robins, a development director at P2i. "By making the surface repel water, we have been able to take devices that fail the normal… shower tests, and make them pass. Obviously, how waterproof a device is depends on design, but we can ensure that water doesn't seep through joins or small gaps. Some electronics companies want the individual components to be treated too, so they have a much greater level of protection."
With in excess of 1.2m mobiles lost each year from being dropped into lavatories, drinks or put through washing machines the tech could also have a beneficial effect on users' handset insurance policies.
Roll it out I say... and get it into laptops ASAP as well *cough*