Touch devices like smartphones and tablets have literally changed the world, but one unfortunate aspect of these new technologies is the disgusting state of smeared, greasy, and occasionally sticky, finger-print-ridden displays. Device owners often try to keep up with the mess by frequently wiping down the screen, but even if it looks clean there may still be germs hiding in plain sight. Now, New York-based Corning thinks it has the solution.
The company, famous in the tech world for its Gorilla Glass products, announced at CES Monday a new Antimicrobial version of its glass, aimed at touchscreen devices. Advertised as the first EPA-registered antimicrobial cover glass, the technology promises to actively kill germs by baking ionic silver right into the outer layer.
Corning’s Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass inhibits the growth of algae, mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria because of its built-in antimicrobial property, which is intrinsic to the glass and effective for the lifetime of a device. This innovation combines best-in-class antimicrobial function without compromising Gorilla Glass properties. Our specialty glass provides an excellent substrate for engineering antimicrobial and other functional attributes to help expand the capabilities of our Corning Gorilla Glass and address the needs of new markets.
Corning’s antimicrobial glass won’t just keep your own personal devices free of invisible health hazards, it will also have great use with shared devices. One such device, a touch-based room scheduling tablet from Steelcase, will feature the new glass and is on display at CES. The company also states that the antimicrobial production process scales well for high-volume products like the iPhone.
While many touchscreen users currently use products like alcohol wipes to disinfect their devices, Corning points out that these solutions provide only temporary protection, and are often not recommended by device manufacturers, as the alcohol could damage traditional touch screens. This new glass may not keep your screen free of fingerprints, but it does promise to greatly reduce germs, which is arguably the more important issue with touch screens.
As for whether such a product will find its way into your next iDevice, recent reports suggest that Apple may move to sapphire glass, which it already uses to protect the camera on the iPhone. Corning undoubtedly hopes that its aggressive advancements in glass, including an upcoming flexible product called Willow Glass, will help it secure Apple’s future business in addition to that of other Android and Windows-based manufacturers.