A good reason to drop your iPhone down the toilet

29 Jul 2008

Everybody has done this at one stage or another – dropped your mobile phone down the toilet, spilled coffee across your laptop keyboard or left your MP3 player in your trousers pocket and put it through the wash. The result? Your gadgets go to electronic heaven.

However, a product called Golden Shellback from the Northeast Maritime Institute in the US is seeking to change this with its patented ‘splash proof’ technology, which by all accounts leaves your BlackBerry or iPhone running smoothly even when submerged in several inches of water.

Golden Shellback is the brainchild of Sid Martin, director of technology at the institute. Martin came up with the idea after years of working in the semiconductor industry directed him towards developing a coating applied at the molecular level.

The clear coating, which is about one thousandth of an inch thick, is not sprayed on but rather applied to the inside and outside components of the device in question using patented technology, the details of which Martin will not divulge.

The coating is barely detectable and can cover devices of any size. The company estimates it will be ready to launch this product in the next few months.

Demonstrations from the labs clearly show a laptop, BlackBerry and iPod Touch all being submerged in water and working fully, with the iPod Touch clearly playing music and video.

Martin said the coating renders a device’s surface like that of a just-waxed car, so water literally rolls right off.

The coating also works to protect against other viscous materials apart from water but does not work with cameras yet due to the optics. It does, however, also protect other items apart from electronics and could be used to preserve old documents against deterioration from humidity and other atmospheric conditions.

By Marie Boran