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Waterproof your device

Lots of cellphones die from drowning (raise your hand if you've dropped yours in a puddle, washing machine or the toilet). In the past, if you wanted to waterproof your phone, you had to buy a special plastic case or pray that the rice trick would revive it (see How to save a soggy phone, below).

But solution may be at hand. Tech research company Liquipel (see has invented a new technique that covers devices, inside and out, in a razor thin, nearly invisible waterproof shell. When water hits the device, it beads up and rolls off, leaving the phone or tablet dry.

In a test, popular Science editors sent an iPhone 3GS to Liquipel for waterproofing. When they got the phone back a few days later, they turned it on and ran it under a tap for five minutes. The phone operated normally while under the faucet. Afterwards, the touch screen was slow to respond at first, probably because of water droplets on the screen that hadn't yet rolled off, but after few seconds, the phone worked as if nothing had happened.

The waterproofing costs Rs.3100 plus shipping. The company accepts iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxy handsets, Motorola Droids, and other brands and gadgets by mail to California offices.

A phone in a water

How to save a soggy phone

Step 1: Remove the battery

Immediately, "I know it's tempting, but resist the urge to power up your phone to see if it works just turning it on can short out the circuits," writes Joel Johnson of of Take out the SIM card, too, which may retain data, such as contacts, even if the phone itself id fried.

Step 2: Shorten drying time

If the phone stays wet for too long, it will start to corrode. Skip the hair dryer; it's too hot for this purpose. A better choice is a vacuum cleaner.

Step 3: Sop up remaining moisture

Submerge the phone in uncooked white rice for at least 12 hours. If you don't have rice handy, place the phone on paper towels, then put it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Replace the battery and power up to see if the phone works. If it doesn't remove the battery, and stick the phone back in the freezer for another five to ten minutes. There's a good chance you'll have a working phone after a couple of tries.