Taking to water like a duck

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iol scitech april 15 Moto X REUTERS It has applied water-repellent coatings to 50 million electronic devices, including more than 20 million mobiles such as Motorola's Moto X.

London - Ruining your phone by dropping it into the bath could become a thing of the past, thanks to a small company spun out of the British Ministry of Defence.

‘Dunkable’ mobile phones, which can survive undamaged in water for up to half an hour, will be launched this summer with the help of nano-coatings company P2i.

It has applied water-repellent coatings to 50 million electronic devices, including more than 20 million mobiles such as Motorola’s Moto X. It is now partnering a mobile phone maker to launch fully dunkable phones within a few months.

The company was formed as a joint venture by the MoD in 2004 after Dr Stephen Coulson, now its chief technology officer, did PhD research at Durham University on how to create clothing for soldiers that would repel chemical warfare agents and allow for normal movement.

Based in Didcot, Oxfordshire, the firm has protected products from hearing aids to clothing and F1 car nose cones with a coating 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair. Its nano-coating systems are in factories in 15 countries and clients include Siemens and Panasonic.

Coulson said: “Dunkable products will be on the shelves this year. On our dunkable treated handset, water will still get inside but it will provide complete protection. It is a barrier to prevent corrosion.”

P2i, which recently opened its first office in China, has 100 employees and turnover was £8-million in 2013. Coulson believes people could in future have nano-coating machines in their own homes. - Mail On Sunday

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