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8 Examples of Self-Healing

Self-healing is a class of technology that is able to fix itself when there is a problem. The following are illustrative examples.


Self-healing materials are nothing new as the ancient Romans used concrete that has self-healing properties such that crystals grow into cracks to repair them. Modern self-healing materials include glass, rubber, plastic and metals. Such materials may heal micro-stresses such as small cracks. This can greatly improve the lifespan of the material. It is also possible for materials to self-heal larger damage such as a visible crack in a smart phone screen.


Fabrics in clothing and other products such as luggage that self-heal minor damage such as scratches and punctures.


Software commonly detects problems and self-heals. For example, a software service may use hundreds of cloud servers with auto-detection of failures. When a node malfunctions it is shutdown and a fresh node can be launched in its place.


Physical machines may also use software to self-heal. For example, a data storage device may automatically detect sectors that are malfunctioning. It can then seek to fix logical errors on the device or mark physically damaged sectors so that they are no longer used. This allows the device to continue to function at lower capacity.


Robotics have significant potential to be self-healing, self-repairing, self-maintaining and self-protecting. This can be done to lower operational costs or to develop robots that can reliably handle extreme environments such as space.

Artificial Intelligence

As an artificial intelligence learns from sets of training data and real world experience it can develop machine biases. Humans have well developed introspection capabilities that allow us to examine our own thought processes and emotions to improve. It is certainly possible for AI to do similar things with independent algorithms or AI that keep an eye on things and trigger a reset if an AI is becoming sub-optimal or downright illogical.

Buildings & Infrastructure

Large things such as buildings and infrastructure may use all of the techniques above to self-heal. For example, a building may be constructed of self-healing materials and use robotics to automatically repair components. Any AI in the building such as the elevators may self-examine once in a while and reset if recent changes to their behavior has yielded negative results.


Nanorobotics has potential to add self-healing capabilities to devices large and small. For example, a mobile device could come with a small army of nanobots inside that continuously repair and/or improve the device.
Overview: Self-Healing
A class of technology that is able to fix itself when there is a problem.
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