Nissan introduces self-healing iPhone case

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 16, 2012

Nissan recently revealed the Scratch Shield iPhone, the brand’s latest iPhone kit. The kit is actually a self-healing iPhone case which utilizes the brand’s very own self-healing paint finish. This particular paint technology is the first of its kind and while first developed in 2005, it had already been used on different Infiniti and Nissan models. By being applied to an iPhone case, this pioneering technology will mark the first time that it’s used on a smartphone, a product that is bound to experience a number of scratches due to daily use.

Thus, iPhone users are more than guaranteed that their phone will look its best for a longer period of time. In order to design the Scratch Shield iPhone, Nissan made use of different advances related to automotive engineering. The result is a paint coat that is long-lasting and durable as well as a case that is tight and can fit closely an iPhone.

This Scratch Shield was developed by the brand working in partnership with Advanced Softmaterials Inc., and the University of Tokyo. The paint finish, as mentioned previously, was created to be used for automobiles and aside from a number of Infiniti models, was made available for the Nissan X-Trail, Nissan 370Z, and Nissan Murano.

Because of the innovative method that the brand implemented, this made it possible to apply the technology on a product that is not related to the auto industry. Specifically, this is the Scratch Shield iPhone case which is to be released in Europe. The first batch of these cases has already been manufactured and made to undergo BETA testing composed of selected customers and journalists.

Nissan however says that if there is a strong demand for it, it may be possible that the cases will be put on sale on the later part of this year. The Scratch Shield iPhone case brings with it three important advantages. The first is that rather than a glossy surface, the case has a tactile gel-like quality giving it improved grip and compared to standard paint, is more scratch-resistant.

Its second advantage is that because of the elastic and highly flexible quality of the paint, fine scratches are able to repair themselves faster. The third benefit is that since the case is actually composed of ABS plastic, the case is more robust and rigid unlike other plastics. ABS plastic is a substance that has a high grade and is generally utilized in the auto industry.

Meanwhile the outer paint on the case is composed of polyrotaxane. What this chemical structure does is when the coating experiences a fine scratch, it then reacts immediately and reverts back to the original shape by filling in the gap, thereby “healing” the damage. According to Bob Laishley, who is Nissan’s Overseas Programme Director Business Development for Europe, the brand has always been proud of thinking laterally and what the brand does is to look at the various advances made in the automotive industry and find a way to apply and improve daily use.

The Scratch Shield iPhone, he added, is a good example of a technology from the brand has long been a boon to customers and then applied it to an everyday product. In order to mark the release of the Scratch Shield iPhone case, Nissan has partnered with the Ministry of Sound. A pre-party will be hosted for Nissan and will have internationally celebrated DJ Pete Tong.

On this same event, Nissan will also be releasing the first 100 units of the prototypes. This is not the first time Nissan has done this as it has already been licensing different technologies to be used for in non-automotive applications going as far back as 2004. An example of this is the Miniature Thermal Imaging Sensor. When it was first designed, the goal was to ensure that nighttime driving is safe.

What this technology does is to detect if any people are present in areas that are not lit by the headlights. This technology resulted in a device that allowed heat generation to be monitored or even use infrared sensors to gather temperature readings. The brand reveals that research and development is ongoing in order to come up with technologies that can not only help different industries but have non-automotive applications as well.

When it comes to developments in the auto industry, Nissan has long been considered as one of the innovators. For example, when Nissan released its first Crossover with the Murano, it started a new period in motoring. This was followed by the Qashqai, which was a success as well. After that it was the Juke which was a vehicle having the style of a sports car and combined with a compact SUV.

Since then, the various crossovers that Nissan has released only became stronger with the Qashqai managing to sell at least 250,000 units in Europe alone last year. Meanwhile the Juke has now reached sales of 120,000 units.

Both the Qashqai and Juke are manufactured at the brand’s facility located in the U.K. With these two models, the UK factory has managed to reach an all-time production record in 2011 of 480,000 units. At present, Nissan is coming out with the Juke-R. This version has the engine, drive train, and transmission of a GT-R and then combined it with a Juke. This is presently being tested in Dubai’s tests.

Press Release


Nissan today announced the latest piece of must-have kit for the iPhone* - a ground-breaking self-healing iPhone case. The Nissan Scratch Shield iPhone case features the brand's pioneering self-healing paint finish, a world first in paint technology developed in 2005 and already used on a number of Nissan and Infiniti models. Now this ground-breaking technology has been applied to a product that's prone to scratches through everyday use - the smartphone - with Nissan's new Scratch Shield case meaning iPhone-lovers can keep their phone looking at its best for longer.

Developed by Nissan in collaboration with University of Tokyo and Advanced Softmaterials Inc., the unique Scratch Shield paint finish was initially designed for automotive use and is available on the Nissan Murano, 370Z and X-Trail along with the Infiniti range of products. Now, thanks to Nissan's pioneering approach, this technology is being trialled for the first time on a non-automotive product in Europe, with the Nissan Scratch Shield iPhone case.

The Nissan Scratch Shield iPhone case has been designed using several automotive engineering innovations to deliver a more durable and long-lasting paint coat, and closely fitting, tight case. The case has three key benefits: the highly flexible and elastic properties of Scratch Shield paint technology allows fine scratches to quickly mend themselves**; its tactile gel-like rather than glossy surface is more scratch-resistant than conventional paint and provides a better grip; and the case itself is made of ABS plastic - a high grade substance widely used in the automotive industry which is more rigid and robust than other plastics. The outer ‘paint' is made from polyrotaxane, which means that when damage occurs to the coating in the form of a fine scratch, the chemical structure is able to react to change back to its original shape and fill the gap - 'healing' the blemish.

An initial batch of prototypes of the innovative Scratch Shield iPhone cases has been produced by Nissan for BETA testing with selected journalists and customers, but if demand proves strong, it will look to put the cases on general sale later this year.

Bob Laishley, Overseas Programme Director Business Development for Nissan in Europe, said: "We like to think laterally by taking the great innovations we've got from an automotive point of view, and looking at how they could be applied to improve everyday issues. The Scratch Shield iPhone case is a great example of us taking a Nissan automotive technology that has had a huge impact for our customers, and then shifting the boundaries to apply it to another everyday product.

"We're really excited about the possibilities provided by this technology. In Japan, we've already linked up with world-leading mobile operator NTT DoCoMo to allow them to use the Scratch Shield technology on its Style Series N-03B mobile phones, and we think this technology has real scope beyond the automotive world. We're passionate about innovations that get people excited, and that means not being restricted to one industry or genre."

Nissan has been licensing its unique technologies for various non-automotive applications since 2004. Other technologies that have been licensed include its Miniature Thermal Imaging Sensor: initially designed to make driving at night safer by detecting the presence of people even in places not illuminated by the car's headlights; the technology has been licensed to create a device which allows customers to monitor heat generation, or collect temperature readings via infrared sensor. Nissan will continue to research and develop breakthrough technologies that can benefit other industries, and promote these non-automotive applications globally.

Nissan has long been an innovator when it comes to advancements in the automotive world, heralding the start of a remarkable new era in motoring when it launched the first Crossover, the Nissan Murano, followed by the hugely-successful Qashqai and recently joined by the Juke - with its innovative fusion of compact SUV and sports car styling. Nissan's range of crossovers has since gone from strength to strength, with the Nissan Qashqai selling more than a quarter of a million models last year in Europe and the newly launched Juke having now notched-up 120 thousand sales. Built in Nissan's manufacturing plant in the UK, these two models helped the plant break its all-time production record to build 480 thousand units in 2011.

Currently the Nissan Juke-R, another Nissan Innovation combining the transmission, drive train and engine of a Nissan GT-R with a Juke, is being put to the test on the streets of Dubai. To celebrate this event, Nissan has joined forces with Ministry of Sound, who will be hosting a pre-race party for Nissan with internationally renowned DJ Pete Tong, to release the first 100 of the Nissan Scratch Shield iPhone case prototypes.

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