It looks like the world is facing a new pandemic, but we’re not talking about any viruses or diseases here. No, we’re talking about exploding smartphones. From Europe to the United States to China, more and more cases of phone batteries blowing themselves apart are surfacing, stirring up concern for many. No longer can we fling perturbed birds at their giggling pork nemeses without worrying that our phones will blow our faces off. While the safest option would probably be to simply avoid having one, what would we do without our smartphones on the train, at work when our boss isn’t looking, or in bed at 3 am? This deep, possibly unhealthy attachment to the devices has led to an interesting new product in China: explosion-proof membranes.
▼A Finnish man and his exploded iPhone.
Thanks to an increase in unexpected smartphone detonations, Chinese citizens have started purchasing and applying explosion-proof membranes, according to the Japanese-language Chinese news site, Searchina. These membranes are designed to reduce the amount of shrapnel launched in case a smartphone explodes.
Obviously, there are already a number of different covers available for your high-end devices to prevent scratches or other damage to screens. However, the new products aren’t really meant to protect the phones—just the users. Chinese citizens can purchase the membranes for about 200 yuan (about US$32), but it’s important to remember that they won’t prevent explosions—only flying shrapnel.
▼Remains of a Chinese apartment following a fire caused by an exploding smartphone.
It seems that many of the smartphone explosions in China have been the result of using unofficial batteries, a practice which may be increasing globally as our devices require more and more power to make it through the day. Another cause seems to be the use of unofficial chargers, which many of us around the world already use as well!
The membranes are made of tempered glass 0.2 to 0.4 millimeters (0.0079 to 0.0157 inches) thick and are said to provide better containment than PET-resin types. Considering that even standard batteries can explode when dented or overheated, we’re very tempted to get some of these!