British Scientists Create Ion-Mask, a Waterproof Coating for Gadgets and Clothing

Monday, 31 December 2007
Water Resistant Cell Phone Scientists in Britain recently unveiled new method to waterproof electronic gadgets like cell phones and mp3 players.

The technology involves an invisible coating that is chemically bonded to the surface of the instrument, repelling water and preventing it from seeping into the device where it could damage circuitry.

"Mobile phones and MP3 players are too small to be fitted with seals to make them waterproof, so water inevitably can creep in," explained 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.

The technology works by bonding a protective layer to the device using a plasma - a gas that has been electronically charged. The chemical properties of the layer allow it to repel water and oil. It was developed for treating soldiers' uniforms, so they would repel toxic vapours and liquids in a chemical or biological attack.

"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."

It will be interesting to watch how the technology moves into the outdoor clothing and footwear market. Shoe giant, Hi-Tec has already announced a line of hiking boots treated with the Ion-Mask technology. Rather than absorbing water and dirt, moisture will bead off the surface of the shoes.

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Image Courtesy of Cell Phone Digest

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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