Thursday, April 10, 2014

Waterproofing smartphones

Photo from P2iLabs blog
P2i is a nanotechnology firm that has developed a coating to waterproof a wide variety of objects. Its coating for smartphones is said to "create an invisible shield around a smartphone to protect it from water, dirt and sweat."

An article in the online edition of The Telegraph includes a video (1:52) that shows how the nanotechnology coating works.

The topic of the article was very interesting for my students, since we cover many aspects of innovation in our curriculum. It was especially useful for those studying information technology and computer science, because many of them already work in mobile phone technologies.

The text of the article itself proved to be useful for:
  • process description - "To apply the coating, a rack of smartphones is placed in a low-pressure machine that looks something like a large microwave. The machine creates a vacuum and passes a radio frequency through it to activate the surface of the handset. A chemical vapour is then released into the vacuum which attaches itself to the product, creating the invisible layer that shields it from liquids."
  • graph language; statistics - "Revenues are now growing rapidly, up from £6m in 2012 to £8m last year and a forecast of £12m in 2014 and £18m in 2015. P21 has 190 machines in factories in 16 countries, and is expecting much bigger numbers in the years ahead.
  •  comparisons, change - more than, less than, expected to double this year, to grow exponentially, more robust devices, biggest risk,  now growing rapidly, up from, making the transition from ... to ...
  • contrast phrases with "but" - "Smartphones are the company's biggest business, but its technology is now focused on four areas ..." There are 8 sentences with this construction in the article.
The video is also useful since it is short, but illustrates the innovation very well, both with the explanation and with the visuals.

There is further information about this innovation on the company's website:


  1. Great ideas, just linked to this blog on my English for Engineers page:

    Now, just need to find a job where I can get back to teaching Technical English...

  2. I'm glad you find the ideas "great". I enjoy using texts about innovations in the students' fields (and interest areas) to focus on both the information and the features of language used to express that information.

    I also appreciate the link to your blog. I checked it out and it looks extremely useful. Would love to share more ideas of what you've done in the classroom - and hope you'll be doing again!