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Ion-Mask, a Waterproof Coating for Gadgets

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Scientists in Britain have come up with a solution for making electronic gadgets completely waterproof, using a type of coating that repels liquids. The technology has, up until now, been used for military gear, but the makers of Ion-Mask are already in discussion with three cellphone manufacturers with a view to using the coating on their products. Full story below.

Government scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down, Wiltshire, are behind the breakthrough. Ion-Mask is a protective layer that bonds to the device using a plasma, or electronically charged gas, and its chemical properties allow oil and water to be repelled easily. Originally developed for treating soldiers' uniforms to repel toxic vapors and liquids in chemical or biological attacks, the technology will be used to protect devices thought to be too small to be fitted with waterproof seals, such as mobiles and MP3 players.

As well as covering the devices, Ion-Mask is versatile enough to be able to coat individual components, in order to up the level of protection. Having an Ion-Mask device might help lower insurance rates for cellphones too, as more than 1.2 mobiles were lost in 2006 to toilets, drinks and washing machines. [Telegraph]