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Fear not the toilet - new nano-coating keeps cellphones dry

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 02:36

Jan. 30 - There are few things more frustrating than losing your cellphone to water damage. The electronics are not designed for contact with water, so if your hand-held device slips from your grasp and lands in the toilet, the chances are it's gone forever. At least that used to be the case. A California company has come up with a nano-coating it says will protect your phone from water damage. Rob Muir reports.

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A cellphone rests in its watery-grave..a distressing though common sight for cellphone users everywhere. But this one, isn't dead. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIQUIPEL EMPLOYEE, SAYING: "Thanks for calling Liquipel, this is David, how may I help you?" Liquipel is a start-up company based in Santa Ana, California. It's also the name of the company's marquis product - a nano-coating designed to protect every component of a mobile device from water damage. Liquipel co-founder Kevin Bacon says the technology fills a significant gap in the cellphone market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KEVIN BACON, CO-FOUNDER, LIQUIPEL, SAYING: "Liquipel is a preventative coating, so it's not something that we're marketing in a way that we want people swimming with their devices or needlessly exposing them to water. That's more to prevent those accidents which usually water-damage your electronics, such as being caught in the rain, dropped in the sink, or unfortunately, it happens, put in the toilet, or if you've got to take a quick call in the shower, those types of things." The company won't discuss their patent-pending technology in detail, other than to say that Liquipel is a vaporised liquid that covers all components of a cellphone with a coating one thousand times thinner than a human hair. Sales agent Sarah Chitrars says the process is simple. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SARAH CHITRARS, SALES AGENT, LIQUIPEL, SAYING: "What we're able to do is place your electronic device inside our especially engineered Liquipel machine. In that machine we have a chamber that pumps down and ignites our plasma process to permeate your device on a molecular level, so the internal and external components. At the end of that process, which takes about 30-35 minutes, your phone has been Liquipeled." At the moment the business runs on a mail order basis with customers paying $59 to have their cellphone treated. After Liquipel debuted their product at the recent Consumer Electronics Show In Las Vegas, Kevin Bacon says the company was overwhelmend with orders and is now processing one thousand phone an hour. But eventually, he says he'd like to take the technology further. SOUNDBITE) (English) KEVIN BACON, CO-FOUNDER, LIQUIPEL, SAYING: "The coating itself is applicable to all type of personal electronic devices so we hope to see it in the majority of products that are going to be coming or released. It's just right now we've chosen to focus primarily on mobile phones, just because we feel like they're the ones that are most likely to come into situations where they're gonna be water-damaged. These phones have become an extension of ourselves and we shouldn't be limited by the environments that we're able to take them into." And that includes the bathroom. The company wants to expand, bringing relief to cellphone users everywhere. Rob Muir, Reuters

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Fear not the toilet - new nano-coating keeps cellphones dry

Monday, January 30, 2012 - 02:36

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