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Science Technology

Ion-Mask Coating Could Make Waterproofing Electronics Easy 99

Engadget is reporting that a new chemical coating, originally designed to repel toxic vapors and liquids from soldiers' uniforms, may be the solution to small waterproof electronics. "The Ion-Mask is a special invisible coating that is chemically bonded to the device and repels water. It should allow waterproofing to make it into devices that are too small for the seals that are usually used to do the trick. Devices can have joins and gaps coated for a general level of water repellence, or have individual components treated for even more protection."
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Ion-Mask Coating Could Make Waterproofing Electronics Easy

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  • Lame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:06PM (#21870340)
    This would take all the fun out of the old hairdryer-in-the-bathtub prank.
  • Re:Lame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pwnies ( 1034518 ) * <j@jjcm.org> on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:14PM (#21870386) Homepage Journal
    Not necessarily. Hairdryers generate heat by sending an electrical current through a filament to heat it up, but that filament directly accessible through the wide nozzle of the hair dryer. This ion-seal doesn't prevent electrical current from touching water, it merely prevents water from seeping through small holes or cracks in a device. With the wide nozzle of the hairdryer, water could still easily flow directly into the filament - which means you can still check to see if your buddies reaction speed is up to par.
  • by writerjosh ( 862522 ) * on Monday December 31, 2007 @06:25PM (#21870466) Homepage
    This article elaborates on how it would work with shoes/clothing:

    "Rather than absorbing water and dirt, moisture will instead bead off the surface of the specially-designed shoes."

    And then another advantage (for insurance companies at least) is the insurance angle:

    "For electronic devices, protection from water is also important. Water damage is one of the top reasons for insurance claims on mobiles, with more than 1.2 million being dropped in lavatories, drinks or put through washing machines last year."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2007/12/30/scitech230.xml [telegraph.co.uk]

    Perhaps this could also be an eventual replacement to protect servers and other vital machinery without the cost and danger of Halon and similar gases.
  • Re:quite useful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimmyswimmy ( 749153 ) on Monday December 31, 2007 @07:32PM (#21870828)
    I don't know why this is a big deal for the Slashdot crowd. Might be nice for keeping the water out of my sneaks, but for electronics? Conformal coatings (like Humiseal) have been around forever... they're just expensive and make rework miserable.

    Don't think this would work all that well on entire systems. Remember, most battery-module interfaces are connectorized. If you overcoat the connector, you will reduce surface contact between the connector sides, which increases electrical resistance. In other words, a little jiggle on the connector and your device resets itself.

    If they don't waterproof the connector, no problem, but then you destroy the battery when the phone or ipod or whatever goes in the toilet. Which is better than losing the whole device, but most consumers won't know the difference. Or they use waterproof connectors which are bulky and expensive and don't belong in the middle of consumer equipment.
  • Not waterproof... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blue l0g1c ( 1007517 ) on Monday December 31, 2007 @10:26PM (#21871696)
    I'll bet my eye teeth that it will be rebranded as water resistant before it hits the market, because anything that is being touted as waterproof will be instantly chucked into a sinkful of water as soon as it is out of the packaging, and the company won't want to take responsibility for the ones that fail. I miss the days of "Waterproof."

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.