Having your mobile device near water, let alone dropping it in to the toilet bowl (you know who you are), has outrageously expensive consequences. Fortunately, our clever friends at HzO, a subsidiary of ZAGG Incorporated, have developed an effective coating of WaterBlock technology to protect our devices from H2O on a molecular scale, and their funding has been faring well.
The concept was inspired by the unfortunate death of a maritime student who fell over board while working on a barge in the Mississippi River. Though his cellphone and radio for maritime servicemen were within hands reach as he desperately held on to a line in the water, he was unable to use either device owing to water damage. This tragedy is understandably the impetus behind creating a way of turning potentially life-saving devices into waterproof miracles.
There are other variants of this concept currently on the market, such as NeverWet and Liquipel, both superhydrophobic coatings which repel any liquid or heavy oil, so it will be interesting to see just how creative HzO will be in terms of competitiveness in this electronic waterproofing market. The company uses what is known as a vacuum deposition process to apply the protective film, so at no point is the detrimental effect of heat upon device circuitry introduced during the process. The coating is simple, clear, and nearly invisible, but it packs a brilliant function within its transparency. According to HzO, WaterBlock “is a chemical vapor deposition that blankets vital electronic circuitry with a nano-thin film containing highly effective, water-repelling properties.” Chemical vapor deposition is a pretty incredible science used to produce high-performance solid materials that are highly water-resistant and fit for a wide range of applications - but especially as coatings for the purposes of wear resistance, corrosion resistance, high temperature protection, erosion protection, and combinations thereof.
So far there has not been any news as to what the cost of this nifty technology will be, but it certainly seems to be an innovation that will become as pervasive and reflexive as getting an app for your iPhone - it all depends on which goliath companies decide to scoop up a partnership with HzO, since it’s not something that any consumer can simply purchase and add on to an existing device; the coating must be applied during production.
The company is already in discussion with Apple and Samsung about the possibility of manufacturing their products with the technology. HzO President Paul Clayson is expecting to see WaterBlock-treated devices by the summer. Because such technology is in high demand and serves an invaluable purpose, it is not at all outside the scope of possibility to see this innovation expanded to use in other electronics, such as medical equipment, laptops, video cameras, Wacom tablets, and gaming consoles, among others. As a side note and a promising bit of information for HzO, Liquipel is currently unable to process orders due to “overwhelming response” - an indication that the concept is doing remarkably well. But how will HzO fare in this increasingly crowded market?