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Nokia Developing Diamond-Like Gadget Casing

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the still-waiting-on-transparasteel dept.

Hardware 122

space_pingu writes "In the future, all gadgets could be coated with tough, diamond-like material. A patent from Nokia — featured in the latest patent round-up from New Scientist — describes a way of infusing plastic cases with a material, structurally similar to diamond, made from coal. Not only is it more scratch and grime-resistant, but it's also cheap and biodegradable. Apparently it also shines like a metal. The article also touches on a technique for welding with 'ice bullets', and an airport scanner that protects the dignity of travelers."

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122 comments

if you drive a late model car... (3, Interesting)

gp310ad (77471) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723120)

you already own a gadget made with DLCs.

Re:if you drive a late model car... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723284)

yeah we have been testing DLC as a coating for titanium at work (difficult to coat titanium..). What I don't get is how useful a 'biodegradable' gadget is!! One morning you wake up to find your phone has melted ;)

Re:if you drive a late model car... (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723862)

I got the impression that it is about as 'biodegradable' as other metals. In other words, not expected to be a problem over the life of the product.

Unless you have problems with your cell phones rusting out before you're ready to throw them away, I don't think you'll have much to worry about.

Re:if you drive a late model car... (5, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723522)

When I was working at a company doing rotary press holograms, we were working on doing coatings of TiO2 using crystal growth. Our rough estimates were double the scratch resistance of an acrylic coating. Fun mixture - Titinate/Titinol acid inhibited/water catalized reaction occuring in an anhydrous methanol solution printed onto a film. All the benefits of glass vapor deposition (refractive index/scratchresistance) at about $0.05/1000SI as opposed to $1/1000SI.

While it might be good for the scratch resistance, I do have to wonder what this is going to add to the cost - it might just be cheaper to use a more durable plastic instead of cheap plastic w/ coating.

Re:if you drive a late model car... (5, Funny)

guy-in-corner (614138) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723806)

Fun mixture - Titinate/Titinol acid inhibited/water catalized reaction occuring in an anhydrous methanol solution printed onto a film. All the benefits of glass vapor deposition (refractive index/scratchresistance) at about $0.05/1000SI as opposed to $1/1000SI.

"Blah Rover blah blah blah food."

With apologies to Gary Larson, and also to tinkerghost.

Re:parent WILL be modded up (4, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725804)

...rotary press holograms...TiO2 using crystal growth...anhydrous methanol solution ...glass vapor deposition
I can almost guarantee that you'll be modded up. We like holograms and big words here on Slashdot.

Re:if you drive a late model car... (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725984)

Slashdot: News for Materials Science Engineers--Stuff that the software engineers haven't seen since college.

*yawn* (4, Funny)

Control Group (105494) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723132)

Call me when I can get a skull gun.

Or leverage my dry wit, stiff upper lip, and giant mustache to join the Vickies.

Re:*yawn* (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723202)

I suspected that it would only be a matter of time before someone alluded to Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age [amazon.com] . It would be nice if we had arrived to such a badass world of nanotech, but I'm a little baffled by how this isn't diamond:

...a material, structurally similar to diamond, made from coal...

If it's made from coal, then it's pure carbon. And if carbon is arranged into a tough state, isn't that diamond by definition? If the carbon molecules fall instead into some other configuration, what's stopping one from making real diamond?

Re:*yawn* (3, Funny)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723286)

You can't say what it really is or the diamond cartel will invite you to swim with da fishes.

Re:*yawn* (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723306)

Hot damn! I'm going to Seaworld!

Re:*yawn* (2, Funny)

SwimsWithTheFishes (842420) | more than 6 years ago | (#17726686)

Why did you summon me?

Re:*yawn* (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723570)

Diamond is a very specific orientation of the carbon atoms. There are a lot of ways to arrange them - and dope them - that create various effects while not being 'diamonds'. This is fascinating stuff, and if I were just starting out in school, I would be very strongly tempted to get into this type of material sciences.

Why ask Slashdot when you can ask Wikipedia? (3, Informative)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724154)

If it's made from coal, then it's pure carbon. And if carbon is arranged into a tough state, isn't that diamond by definition?
Uh, no. To learn about allotropes of carbon, you can start here rather than asking us. [wikipedia.org]

Re:*yawn* (1)

inca34 (954872) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725288)

Coal is not pure carbon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal

Doh (5, Funny)

rorre (628427) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723188)

If it's so tough, it will scratch everything else.

Re:Doh (1)

frantzdb (22281) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724624)

Only if it is sufficiently pointy.

Re:Doh (2, Insightful)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724738)

Could God create a diamond casing that is so tough that it scratches even itself?

Re:Doh (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#17726662)

Good one, but few people will get where it came from:

"Can god make a stone so heavy, that he cannot lift it?"

Re:Doh (1)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 6 years ago | (#17727246)

No, I think most people know where it came from:

"Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?"

Condoms? (1)

TheLongestDay (1046472) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723194)

I could be Austin Powers with a Diamondmember, hell yeah!

Re:Condoms? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724948)

I could be Austin Powers with a Diamondmember, hell yeah!


Don't you mean, "yeah baby!"? And wouldn't a diamond condom be a little scratchy? I mean, there's hard, and then there's too hard...

Impractical (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723208)

and an airport scanner that protects the dignity of travelers

Traveler dignity is not good for security theater.

hmm (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723216)

Not only is it more scratch and grime-resistant, but it's also cheap and biodegradable.

Isn't strong and biodegradable mutually exclusive?

Re:hmm (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723250)

Isn't strong and biodegradable mutually exclusive?
Try oak wood.

Re:hmm (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723488)

Isn't strong and biodegradable mutually exclusive?

Try oak wood.


Oak is no where near as strong as diamond.

Strong != hard (5, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723630)

Any very large real diamond will have flaws in its crystal structure which will cause it to shatter if hit in the right way. (The idea that you can hit a small diamond with a sledgehammer and it will bounce off is pure fantasy.) Oak is a truly remarkable composite material which, like all successful composites, has harder materials (quartz for instance) and soft materials in the matrix. It is a very strong material for its weight and can absorb large amounts of energy, both in bending and impact. Looking for a bedplate material recently for a heavy vibrating system, I couldn't find anything better, in terms of performance and price, than European oak supported by steel beams. If I had been able to replace the oak beams with diamond, I rather think the vibration would shatter it along the fault planes in no time.

On the other hand, if you know a way to make cheap diamonds a metre long by 10cm square as one perfect crystal, at a price under $100, I'd like to be your European sales agent.

Re:Strong != hard (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724010)

Oak is great and all, but I wouldn't want to keep it in a moist place for very long. At least not without some coating on it (which presumably would defeat the purpose). Additionally, oak is not very scratch resistant.

It is a very strong material for its weight and can absorb large amounts of energy, both in bending and impact. Looking for a bedplate material recently for a heavy vibrating system, I couldn't find anything better, in terms of performance and price, than European oak supported by steel beams.

Fir is stiffer and considerably cheaper. It is also generally available in much longer lengths than oak.

On the other hand, if you know a way to make cheap diamonds a metre long by 10cm square as one perfect crystal, at a price under $100, I'd like to be your European sales agent.

How thick does it have to be? If you only need a few microns, then no problem.

Re:Strong != hard (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17724104)

Him:
a metre long by 10cm square


You:
How thick does it have to be?


Not as thick as you, failed smartass.

Re:Strong != hard (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724288)

Oak is great and all, but I wouldn't want to keep it in a moist place for very long. At least not without some coating on it (which presumably would defeat the purpose). Additionally, oak is not very scratch resistant.

You know, they used to make ships out of oak. The old Royal Navy and all that.... "Hearts of Oak". Yes, they were clad with copper at the waterline but that was to keep the Toredo (sp?) worms from chewing up hull. Pretty water resistant. And natural - can't forget that. No nasty nano this and nano that.

Re:Strong != hard (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724520)

They coated them in pitch and varnish.

Re:Strong != hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17724802)

a) waterproofing pitch, as noted
b) they were constantly replacing timbers. Ships had to carry carpenters, and not just for battle/storm damage.

Re:Strong != hard (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725974)

You know, they used to make ships out of oak.

The Chinese made spacecraft out of oak --- well, the heatshields at least. The SKW series of satellites had reentry shields made out of oak panels. Apparently it has just the right ablation characteristics, as well as being cheap...

Re:Strong != hard (1)

pcb (125862) | more than 6 years ago | (#17728054)

I have an oak stump in my backyard which was ground to just below grade about 5 years ago. If I hit it with an axe today, it still goes 'thud'. There has been, as far as I can tell, absolutely no decomposition - what a pain in the ass!! Let me tell you, tough stuff.

-PCB

Re:Strong != hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17724410)

That plus hardness, strength, and brittleness are different things. A hard material will scratch other materials. This does not necessarily mean that it is stronger than the other materials. And the hardest (and often strongest) materials are usually more brittle thank weaker yet more maleable counterparts. The strongest steel, is also the hardest, and yet much more brittle than softer steel. Which means that when flaws develop they go fast unlike ductile materials.

Re:Strong != hard (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#17728178)

Looking for a bedplate material recently for a heavy vibrating system, I couldn't find anything better, in terms of performance and price, than European oak supported by steel beams. If I had been able to replace the oak beams with diamond, I rather think the vibration would shatter it along the fault planes in no time.

What are you doing in that bed, that you need so much structural strength?

And: "a heavy vibrating system" ?!

Wait, don't answer that. I keep forgetting that this is /.

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723822)

Oak is no where near as hard as diamond. You can still smash a diamond, etc, hardness is hardness not strength. For example, wood has absurd tensile strength, something that crystal structures often lack, unless they are more or less perfect.

tell you what ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17724564)

You take a swing at me with the biggest diamond you can find, and I'll hit you with the biggest piece of oak I can find, and we'll see who comes off best?

Re:hmm (1)

superbondbond (718459) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724180)

Isn't strong and biodegradable mutually exclusive?
Try oak wood.

...or steel

Re:hmm (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725208)

My favorite story about oak was that the Chinese space program used it was a heat shield for small a recoverable spacecraft. It chars and bit of it burn away but it only has to work once.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17726150)

The Second part, the endocarp, is known as the shell of the walnut. The shell has been used in the household as abrasive materials much like the scoring pads or sandpaper are used today. The crushed shells were also used as a form to brush teeth. Because of the shell resistance to high temperatures, NASA uses ground shells as a heat shield.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723262)

The question is , are stones biodegradable or not....

Re:hmm (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723282)

No. Just like how you can have a ductile material that shatters at failure, or a fat that your body won't absorb AND won't mess up your digestive system, you can have an industructible material that quickly decays.

You mean something like wood? (1)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723474)

I would say wood, which is the most widely used construction materal in temperate climates, is both strong and biodegradable.

Re:hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723548)

You must have weak bones.

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

Thansal (999464) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723684)

the other question is of course:
So what?

Ok, so some how it is biodegradable, but the rest of the product still is made of plastic/metal, and those, afaik, are still NOT biodegradable.

Oh, and I am with you on wondering how it is both ultra strong AND biodegradable. After all, are diamonds biodegradable? Some one else said bones, last I checked bones last a VERY long time, sure they are biodegradable, but it will take many years to do so....

oh well, I dont' get it.

guess I should do some more research.

Re:hmm (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724130)

Ok, so some how it is biodegradable, but the rest of the product still is made of plastic/metal, and those, afaik, are still NOT biodegradable.

That's what recycling programs are designed for.

Re:hmm (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724226)

so what do we do?
Wait the multitude of years that it would take to wear off (I find it hard to believe that something that can stand up to regular use for a few years with out being damaged is likely to degrade in a few months after that, look at wool socks, they take years to degrade), and then recycle the base parts?

I think the entire biodegradable thing is a red herring. Anything tread with this stuff will probably need another treatment to get it off, and then after that you can recycle it the way you do Cellphones/mp3players/what ever (I don't know what they do, so don't look at me).

So now.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723224)

diamond really would be the hardest metal!

Unrelated: Hollywood Stunt Animals (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723236)

Diamondfinger (1, Funny)

locksmith101 (1017864) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723258)

Now they can do a remake of Goldfinger - have the bad guy with the diamond fetish, cover an unfortunate young woman with it...

Re:Diamondfinger (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723812)

Don't know... "Diamondfinger" sounds a lot more like the name of a person who makes prostate exams.

How about Tenifer? (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723272)

Glock has been using a coating called "Tenifer" for nearly 20 years. Can be given a nice finish, very durable in my experience, and quite hard. Obviously that technology is mature by now, if scuff-proof metal things in your pocket is important I wonder if that would be suitable. Anyone have the low-down on Glock's Tenifer coating, what it is, and how it is or isn't like this stuff?

Re:How about Tenifer? (3, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723358)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenifer [wikipedia.org]

"Glock, an Austrian firearms manufacturer, utilizes this process to protect the slides of the pistols they manufacture. The Tenifer finish on a Glock is the third and final hardening process. It is 0.05 millimeters thick and produces a patented 64 Rockwell C (diamond cone) hardness rating via a 500 C nitride bath. The final matte, non-glare finish meets or exceeds stainless steel specifications, is 85% more corrosion resistant than a hard chrome finish, and is 99.9% salt-water corrosion resistant. After the Tenifer process, a black Parkerized finish is applied and the slide is protected even if the finish were to wear off. Several other pistols also use this process including the Walther P99 and Steyr M/S series."

This stuff is different, because it isn't a nitriding process, it's a diamond coating process. You get loads of coatings for engineering purposes, a few I've heard of at work are deep gas nitriding, armoloy, diamond-like-coating, tungsten carbide coatings, etc

Re:How about Tenifer? (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724262)

If I recall correctly - I may not, and I don't have time just now to link hunt - the Tenifer process isn't allowed in some countries (including the US) for environmental reasons (byproducts of the process are particularly pernicious waste, I believe).

Welcome (5, Funny)

Malshew (994039) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723300)

Welcome to the future. Everything is shiny here.

Re:Welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17724230)

You CHEAT! I was expecting an overlord post by reading the subject.

X-Ray every passenger? (3, Interesting)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723322)

I can understand that at this point they are probably just filing patents "just in case." However, taking radiographs of every air passenger is not what I would call a responsible use of ionizing radiation.

Before anyone starts quoting dose limits at me, I'm going to say right now that exposure to ionizing radiation should be kept as low as is feasible to do. This means that you _avoid_ unnecessary radiographs and similar procedures, not throw them up for every air passenger--not at the doses imparted by modern radiographs. I also can't understand how they can support such a system when some folks fly dozens of times a year or many more and will have no practical way to track the number of radiographs they've had taken so far this year etc. etc. Can you imagine a very frequent flyer being turned away from security because he'd been put through the scanner too many times this year? Of course you can't--that would never happen because nobody is keeping track.

Unless backscatter x-ray requires far, far less entrance exposure than standard radiography (which I suppose it would since it doesn't need to penetrate the body) to the point where it's into background or only somewhat above, it's very hard to not be a little worried by this. Of course, if they plan on visualizing both sides of the body at once, then naturally they will have to penetrate the body. Then you have the issues of people being told to "go through again" because of machine glitches, because someone was looking at the bag scanner instead, etc.

What really worries me is that nobody seems to even be talking about this. That either means that the doses from these radiographs really are that much lower (and I just don't know it), or that nobody is really concerned by it (which is a scary thought, meaning as it does that our "security" obsession is starting to physically do harm to people).

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (2, Insightful)

ISoldMyLowIdOnEbay (802697) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723348)

I suspect you'd get a bigger dose sitting in the plane once it gets to high altitude...

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (4, Informative)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723774)

I don't know much about flight doses. However, this calculator [cami.jccbi.gov] gave me a dose equivalent on the order of 10 microSv for an hour-long flight. For a ten-hour flight, it gives less than 1 mSv. PA chest radiographs give dose equivalents on the order of 10 microSv (at about 100 kVp or so), if I'm not mistaken--I think that's on the right order.

We can say that it seems that this scan (assuming it "behaves" dose-wise just like a PA chest radiograph) just adds a dose of about an extra hour of flight-time. Of course, since we're not provided any of the dose profile information ourself (if they use lower energy x-rays the dose goes up a bit) there's no way for us to really be sure. We can sit here and approximate and hand-wave all we'd like, but as a medical physics student I haven't heard a word about these machines or their potential health effects OR about any regulations for these machines. Now, I can't expect to hear everything about every new radiographic device, but I consider this a pretty important advancement in the field, and I never hear anyone discussing putting health physicists in airports to monitor these machines. Considering how closely watched and regulated are medical radiographic instruments, it seems that these machines should be subject to similar close monitoring--which is probably not feasible in an airport-security environment.

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725082)

Here's the Wikipedia article on the effects of ionizing radiation on animals. [wikipedia.org] Seems a low dose like this MAY actually protect against further damage from exposure. So the dose you get from the scanner could possibly protect you from the dose you get in-flight.

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (1)

v3rm0n (1054824) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723632)

"But while the millimetre-band waves it uses have none of the health risks associated with ionising radiation such as X-rays..." This was in the first article. Did you read it or did you mean some other machines?

Something is misleading... (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723872)

The actual New Scientist article mentions x-rays specifically. The attached patent application--which is what the article summarizes--deals with backscatter x-ray technology but then mentions millimeter wave later on in I guess "section" 0030. The patent, however, appears to be dealing with a backscatter x-ray device since x-ray devices are mentioned literally constantly throughout, whereas millimeter is mentioned only once. Their first link is to their writeup on millimeter-wave. I don't have a clue why millimeter-wave keeps popping up. In fact, the Wikipedia entry on Backscatter x-ray has the same problem--the first link leads to a millimeter-wave article that has nothing to do with backscatter x-ray technology.

If x-rays are directed onto the human body, then there is some energy deposited and thus a radiation dose. If they aren't x-ray machines and are instead some other scanning modality, they damn well better stop calling them x-ray machines.

Definition of X-ray (1)

amstrad (60839) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725408)

To a physicist, an X-ray is any photon emitted from an energetic electron. X-rays span a large range of wavelengths that many might call millimeter (infrared/microwave), centimeter (microwave). To a physicist, X-ray does not imply ionizing.

Backscatter X-ray frequently uses terahertz frequency (~10 millimeter wavelength) which is infrared. It doesn't penetrate water (read: skin).

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723640)

Hey, this is about security - that means it's part of homeland security. Safety is the responsibility of the NTSB and they only exist so we can blame them when planes fall out of the sky.

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (1)

badspyro (920162) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723744)

didn't you realize? this is the governments secret plan to create a group of superheros!

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724160)

Some people need to know their exact dose though - those who work in the nuclear industry have their dosage monitored very tightly. So X-rays and such add to their allowed limits and so means they can't work in hot areas if they exceed their allowed monthly/annual dosage.

Re:X-Ray every passenger? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725364)

Never mind that; flying exposes you to increased radiation. Better drive instead (and be exposed to increased risk of being in a wreck).

Airport Scanner (5, Funny)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723344)

The security guard can click on any suspicious objects to remove the distortion and enlarge that area for a closer look.
So this scanner is meant to protect the dignity of passengers how? Seems like it protects security from passengers they *dont* want to see naked. Any good looking passenger will obviously have something suspicious in their underwear. After all, you have to make sure those bulges aren't concealing any dangerous liquids. For that matter, aren't breast implant illegal hidden carriers of liquids? Could be dangerous. Think of your own scenarios for female guards, I don't go that way.

Re:Airport Scanner (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723948)

Apparently breasts aren't protected anyway. The article states that the imaging obfuscates the face, groin and armpits.

Re:Airport Scanner (1)

Poruchik (1004331) | more than 6 years ago | (#17727672)

I wonder who thinks armpits are sexier than breasts...

Re:Airport Scanner (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724370)

> So this scanner is meant to protect the dignity of passengers how?

Easy:

Sir, please insert the Dignity Protector Applicator into your rectum when this light turns green, then rest both palms on these shiny metal pads and relax all muscles. Next!

Re:Airport Scanner (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724470)

Think of your own scenarios for female guards, I don't go that way.

Yes, better try your hardest not to ever think of a penis! DON'T THINK OF PENISES!

YOU MIGHT CATCH THE GAY!

Hard - not tough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723490)

It's common for people to confuse hardness with toughness. Diamonds are hard - yet fragile. Plastic is soft - yet tough.

Technology products today are being designed for very short lives, with flimsy, cheap, fragile, unrepairable designs. This is not a good thing.

Re:Hard - not tough. (4, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723682)

This is not a good thing.

Why? The vast majority of people want to replace their technology products after a relatively short period of time whether they are broken or not. If your technology device is over-deisgned and over-engineered to last longer than you want it, you are not getting the best value for your dollar.

Ultra-reliable and ultra-durable devices do exist, mostly for military or industrial customers. Most people, though, would never pay the prices that those products demand.

Re:Hard - not tough. (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723974)

Not to mention that I can use the excuse "but the old one is broken" every time I want to get the price of a new gadget past my wife's scrutinizing of the bank account...

re: not a good thing? (2, Informative)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724298)

I disagree. If you can make a gadget more durable without adding too much to the price, that's a win-win situation. Even if you only want to use the item for a year or two before upgrading to something else, you're probably going to either resell it, or hand it down to somebody else who can make use of it, right? That is, unless it's so beat up that nobody wants it anymore, or it quit working completely and became trash.

Instead of your purchase becoming garbage just because the casing is all cracked/damaged, you'll have a much better chance of recouping a little resale value out of it if it's built more durably.

Re: not a good thing? (1)

gurudude (658958) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724788)

Handing it down to a person who then won't be buying the lower end product from the same manufacturer? Doesn't sound like a win to the person building/selling the products...

Re: not a good thing? (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724856)

If you can make a gadget more durable without adding too much to the price

Sure, if durability is free then there's no reason to not include it. But those "free" improvements have for the most part already been made. Switching from, say, plastic to aluminum or ceramic is definitely not free. Making a hermetically sealed gadget is far from free. Even certain designs that increase durability come at an aesthetic price and often, consumers reject them outright because they want something lighter/smaller/cuter for their dollar.

Biodegradable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723708)

Doh! My phone melted again!

No, the cat does not "got my tongue." (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723734)

Infusing plastic with a diamond-like carbon cladding to make it more scratch resistant? Oh for Christ's sake, they'll let you patent any old obvious thing, nowadays! Why not a fork and spoon while they're at it. Stupid patent office! >:-(

"an airport scanner that protects the dignity..." (1)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723748)

BS. People protect or take away dignity. Machines are props for dignity games.

Let me be the first .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17723840)

to welcome our diamond-coated durable overlords

who have no problems welding in the arctic

and can see up everybody's underpants!

Bling bling! (0)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 6 years ago | (#17723852)

iPhone may leapfrog the competition, but Nokia's moving at Ludacris speed: "Watch out for the medallion my diamonds are reckless Feels like a MIDGET is hanging from my necklace!"

Mod parent -50 Rap Reference (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724434)

I mean, really!

iPods (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724108)

iPods, here we come.

Who'd apply Dikote to their cellphone? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724216)

Don't misunderstand me, chummers - Dikote is cool - but who in their right mind would put it on their mobile? What do they expect from that, a phone with +1 ballistic armor?

No, wait, they want to use the phone as a blunt weapon, so they raise the power level by one. Nokia: For when you really need to do (STR-1)L stun damage. I'll wait for the Motorola CHNSW.

Re:Who'd apply Dikote to their cellphone? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724950)

well, your phone being bulletproof could be useful. most people keep them in their pockets. which are typically right over top of a major artery. we've already got bullet-stopping laptops.

Bling-bling (1)

just fiddling around (636818) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724382)

Yes, most people will not pay more for more resistant mp3 players, but they will pay for the shiny version!

ooh! no-scratch Shiny!

Carbon nanotubes (0)

denoir (960304) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724492)

I' cant reach the new scientist site as it seems to have been /.-ed, but I'm assuming they intend to use carbon nanotubes [wikipedia.org] as the new fancy material. I was unaware of them until recently, but apparently there is a good chance that nokia's phones as well as your future computer will use carbon nanotubes internally.

According to IBM and other players nanotubes are the designated successor of silicon based electronics. They already know how to mass manufacture it and they've made transistors that are 1 nm in diameter and can use a single electron for state switching. And as a bonus, if you wish to smack somebody on the head, a stick made out of nanotubes is hard to beat.

Re:Carbon nanotubes (1)

thetzar (30126) | more than 6 years ago | (#17724812)

If you wanted to beat someone over the head, wouldn't you want to use a stick made of something easy to beat?

Tough AND biodegradable? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725486)

Sure, it resisted dirt and scratches. But it rotted in my pocket.

Biodegradable? (1)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725490)

I hope it doesn't degrade while it's sitting in my pocket. There's more oxygen in my pants than in a landfill.

-Peter

Re:Biodegradable? (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#17727070)

The biodegradability is a "feature". It forces the user to upgrade their phone/iPod/PDA on a regular basis. If Microsoft can force obsolecence of software, why can't the hardware people come up with a similar solution?

Re:Biodegradable? (1)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 6 years ago | (#17728290)

Those engineers.What will they think of next? Rust never sleeps.

Isn't diamond also made of coal? (1)

Yeti7226 (473207) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725684)

Is't crystalline carbon after all.

Diamond-like coating technologies. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#17725896)

Diamonex [diamonex.com] , of Allentown, PA, has been doing these diamond-like coatings for years. It's not a new technology, and Nokia isn't claiming it as such. The most common application is the glass cover on supermarket POS scanners. Diamonex offers a lifetime warranty on their scanner glass; it doesn't scratch even after a few million canned goods have been dragged across it. It's probably in a supermarket near you.

Diamond-like coatings haven't typically been used in consumer products because they were too expensive. The Nokia approach, a very thin coating on plastic, is probably the first consumer application.

Wrong choice of words (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#17726042)

And the only waste product is water when the ice melts.

Oh I get it, I can only water my lawn on Tuesday & Saturday so theese guys can play with high-powered bbguns. It's all so clear to me now.

Patent APPLICATIONs are only GOOD IF... (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 6 years ago | (#17726314)

You can get the PATENT APPLICATION TO ISSUE & then make a viable product out of your claims.

In this case it is a patent application that may never issue.

The hardest part of all for Nokia is to get a succeessful form of plasma coating to work well enough for production parts, with a long enough life time, and a low enough cost (usually the killer in plasma coatings).

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