New screens for smartphones and tablets kills bacteria and germs

Latest development of Corning's Gorilla Glass also claims to be

Any object that gets handled as much as your smartphone is bound to pick up all sorts of germs, and if you’ve got any scratches on your screen then those are quickly going to become reservoirs for such bugs.

In an effort to combat this mobile screen-makers Corning have been showing off the latest iteration of Gorilla Glass – their flagship screens used in over one billion tablets and smartphones. The latest version of their glass is not only incredibly anti-reflective, it’s also germaphobic – killing off bacteria on the screen left by your fingers.

The treatment is not instantaneous (it takes about two hours to kill off all harmful viruses), but it’s certainly better than incubating germs in your pocket. The new glass that Corning is investing in is also incredibly anti-reflective – ten times more transparent than purified water.

To visualise that take a look at the picture of the sheet of glass below. The circle in the middle is not a hole in the material but actually Corning’s latest anti-reflective glass.

Senior Vice President of Corning Jeff Evenson announced their latest developments during MIT’s Mobile Summit. Evenson’s talk highlighted the possibilities of glass as a go-to material in the technology age, noting its incredibly technical properties. Here are some of the statistics Evenson highlighted:

  • Glass can withstand an astonishing amount of pressure. Imagine, for example, a scale that measures the pressure under an elephant’s foot. Glass can theoretically tolerate the pressure of 10,000 elephants stacked on top of that scale – a strength of 10 gigapascals.
  • A sheet of glass is so stable that it would take 20 trillion times the age of the earth to create a visible sag in the thickness of a glass window. This dimensional stability is critical to manufacturers of high-performance devices.
  • You want to talk transparency? The glass used for optical fiber – which forms the backbone of the Internet – is 30 times more transparent than the purest water, and only about 1 percent less transmissive of light than air on a clear day.
  • As for being impermeable – consider the difference between plastic and glass covers on electronics. A molecule of oxygen could pass through a piece of 1-millimeter-thick plastic in about two weeks. That same trip would take 30 billion years through the same thickness of glass. That makes glass “an ideal enclosure for advanced display technologies such as OLEDs, which decay rapidly if exposed to oxygen or water,” Evenson said.
Corning's latest developments are geared at realising their vision of  the future as expounded in their 'A Day Made of Glass' promotional video (see below). Whether this looks like a utopian, technocratic vision of the future or an oppressive, technocratic nightmare seems entirely down to personal whim.

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