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New technology aims to save ‘river-dipped’ phones

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Photo by: Daryl Ontiveros | Staff Photographer A Dry Box station is available at the big HEB in San Marcos.
Photo by:
Daryl Ontiveros | Staff Photographer

A Dry Box station is available at the big HEB in San Marcos.

New technology may help mobile phone users in the San Marcos area save their devices from water damage.

DryBox is a machine used to remove moisture from electronics dropped in water while people shop for their groceries. Dry Ventures Inc. has been leasing a space for DryBox in H-E-B since early April, said David Naumann, managing partner at Dry Ventures Inc.

San Marcos is the location of one of the only 12 DryBoxes in Texas and there are currently no plans to bring DryBox to any other locations in San Marcos, Naumann said.

The machine was created when an engineer was unable to save his wife’s phone after she dropped it in water, Naumann said. The incident inspired the engineer to come up with a solution for similar situations and begin working on what is now the DryBox.

Naumann said. DryBox uses a scientific process to safely extract liquid from devices.

Naumann said the technology has been successful in over 70 percent of phone rescues when used within 24 hours of the device’s first exposure to moisture. The drying process takes 30 minutes, he said.

“Our only competition is rice and a hairdryer,” Naumann said. “Rather than playing Russian roulette (with those methods), why not just remove the moisture in 30 minutes?”

Since the company’s arrival, the machine has dried at least two phones a day, sometimes more, he said. Naumann estimates more than 20 phones get wet in the San Marcos area every day.

“If people knew about (DryBox), it would be doing six to eight, even 10, phones a day,” Naumann said. “It’s about awareness.”

Katrine Jackson, Austin resident and stay-at-home mother of three, said she used DryBox after her youngest child threw her phone in a puddle at Zilker Park.

“I used rice on my husband’s phone once after a similar occurrence,” Jackson said. “The rice lodged itself in the charging port and rendered the phone unusable. DryBox was definitely worth the money and the risk.”

She originally thought 30 minutes was too long, but now realizes DryBox saved her hours in the long run.

“I am surprised it worked,” Jackson said. “I’m really happy it did. When you have three kids, you don’t have the time or money to deal with replacing a phone.”

The likelihood of DryBox’s ability to salvage a wet device depends on how long the electronic has been exposed to moisture, Naumann said. He said it is also important to leave a wet device off and avoid plugging it into an electrical source before using the drying service.