While researching new kinds of adhesives, researchers at the University of Tokyo stumbled upon a type of glass that could repair its own cracks, according to Japan Today.
Two broken shards can fuse back together in just a few seconds with firm pressure, and the glass regains its original strength in a couple of hours.
The research is in its early stages, so don't be put off by the glass' brown color or the seam that remains after the glass has fused back together. As Japan Today says, "it's still a step in a hopeful direction."
Self-repairing glass is surely an appealing prospect for a wide range of industries. For the smartphone industry, it could mean self-healing displays and glass backs.
We've seen self-healing materials on smartphones before, like the LG G Flex and G Flex 2's plastic back that can repair light scratches from objects like keys. The idea wasn't exactly successful in the long run, as other smartphones haven't adopted the self-healing plastic, but that could be because smartphone makers have veered away from plastic on their premium devices altogether in favor of metal or glass.
Self-healing glass is arguably more appealing. Still, I wouldn't hold on to my current smartphone until self-healing glass becomes more mainstream, as it could take several years to fully develop the technology for smartphones.
Nevertheless, self-healing glass has been discovered, and it could become a reality in the near future.