Tech21’s Amazing New Screen Protector Borrows Technology from Bulletproof Glass

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I’m not a big fan of screen protectors; partly because they’re real pain in the ass to apply, and partly because I’ve never felt like they really added much to the equation.

But if there was ever a screen protector to get me to change my mind, its Tech21‘s new Impact Shield. The company demoed its new protector for me over Skype recently, and I came away thoroughly stunned: The protector has a strange, almost magical way of protecting the screen from not only scratches but impacts — and is self-healing. It’s also applied onto a screen in a very different manner than most other screen protectors.

The Impact Shield is actually three layers of thin film sandwiched together: a hard outer layer that disperses the force of a sharp impact over a larger area of the screens surface, a magical middle layer and a soft, silica layer that attaches to a phone’s screen. Tech21 says the middle layer’s polymer comes from German chemical giant BASF, and is used in both bulletproof glass and aircraft cockpit glass.

Watching the self-healing properties of the film during the demo was fascinating, as lines scratched into the protector’s surface would simply melt away in seconds. Ditto for how the protector was applied — I saw a single bubble, easily dealt with. And since there’s no glue, the Impact Shield can be applied and removed as many times as is necessary to get it aligned properly.

Right now, the Impact Shield is only available from T-Mobile,and only for the iPhone 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and Note II (all at $30 each). But Tech21 says it’ll be more widely available in the next few months, and for a wider variety of devices.