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Handhelds Technology

Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Display 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-to-a-phone-near-you dept.
MojoKid writes "It's not too often that upcoming glass technology is worth getting excited over, but leave it to Corning to pique our interest. During a recent talk at MIT's Mobile Technology Summit, Dr. Jeffrey Evenson took to the stage to reiterate what it is about Gorilla Glass that makes it such an attractive product (something well evidenced given the majority of smartphones out there today implement it), as well as to give us a preview of what's coming. Having pretty much mastered Gorilla Glass where strength, scratch-resistance and general durability are concerned, the company is now looking to improve-upon it (possibly for Gorilla Glass 4) by making it non-reflective and germ-resistant. Imagine your smartphone sporting this — you'd finally be able to see the screen regardless of how bright the sun behind you is. Unfortunately, it appears that it won't be hitting our phones or tablets that soon. The estimate is 'in the next two years.'"
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Next-Gen Gorilla Glass: Smartphones Could Have Antibacterial, Anti-Glare Displays

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  • How about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jkflying (2190798) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:10AM (#44214319)

    To be honest, what I'd really like is anti-shatter.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday July 08, 2013 @06:06AM (#44214439)

      The losses to the mobile phone industry if that invention was released would be incalculable.

      It would be like creating regenerative cars or eternal batteries.

      • Nonsense. The Nokia 3310 [knowyourmeme.com] is notoriously resilient, but its Achilles' Heel is that it's obsolete. Same applies to every other phone ever released, Gorilla Glass or not.

    • Otter box is your friend

      • Otter box is your friend

        That assumes a premeditative dunking; something you'd do if you were inexplicably taking your phone on a canoe trip. What if your "buddy" pushes you into the pool, or off the dock ... or you're walking in the rain and a car splashes you.

    • Not sexy enough. Unless you're really clumsy it's a problem that's easily avoided anyhow: Use a case. But considering how many people buy iPhones or don't bother with a case I'm guessing people just simply don't care enough. They'd rather just deal with a broken phone every couple of years.

      Scratches and glare on the other hand show more immediate results.

    • I was about to say the same thing. Apparently gorilla glass is a joke because I've seen every modern smartphone model with a shattered screen at my shop and I don't even fix phones, lol. Wow, the world's toughest screen shatters like glass but looks good doing it due to a lack of scratches. Great.
      • Re:How about (Score:4, Insightful)

        by scheme (19778) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:08AM (#44215977)

        If you want a surface that is scratch resistant, you need to get something that's really hard. If you want something that is shatterproof, you want something that is soft or can flex enough to absorb impacts. You'll need a breakthrough to find something that's both. Manufacturers went the scratch-proof way because it's more likely that your phone would be in your pocket with keys, coins, etc. than being regularly dropped.

  • Phobia... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:15AM (#44214333)

    Really... anti-bacterial? I knew Americans had an obsession with bacteria but this is getting ridiculous. The do realize that the rest of the phone, yaknow the part you hold, is not going to be anti-bacterial? What would happen if the average American were to realize that his/her own body contains ten times more bacteria than cells? Ewwww, ewwww bacteria.....

    • Re:Phobia... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:43AM (#44214387)

      Really... anti-bacterial? I knew Americans had an obsession with bacteria but this is getting ridiculous.

      For phones it's ridiculous (though possibly harmless) but what about ATM's and other touch screens that can be used by hundreds, possibly thousands, of people each day?

      • by fgouget (925644)

        For phones it's ridiculous (though possibly harmless) but what about ATM's and other touch screens that can be used by hundreds, possibly thousands, of people each day?

        Come on. ATMs, really? Wouldn't door knobs, faucet and toilet knobs, stair railings and cart handles be a much higher priority? These are all things you puts your hands on that have been touched by thousands other people. So where do you stop then?

        • Re:Phobia... (Score:5, Informative)

          by jellomizer (103300) on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:48AM (#44214927)

          Many Metals have Anti-Bacterial properties to them.

          • by olau (314197)

            Many Metals have Anti-Bacterial properties to them.

            Is that before or after receiving a coating of gunk from a human hand?

        • by chihowa (366380)

          Wouldn't door knobs, faucet and toilet knobs, stair railings and cart handles be a much higher priority?

          If you have germaphobic tendencies, think of this the next time you're in a public bathroom: what is the last thing touched before you wash your hands and the first thing touched after you wash your hands?

          Brought to you by the Ruining Daily Activities Program...

          • by scheme (19778)

            Wouldn't door knobs, faucet and toilet knobs, stair railings and cart handles be a much higher priority?

            If you have germaphobic tendencies, think of this the next time you're in a public bathroom: what is the last thing touched before you wash your hands and the first thing touched after you wash your hands?

            Brought to you by the Ruining Daily Activities Program...

            Screw, that. It turns out that keyboards have more germs than toilets.

          • Last thing before washing: The faucet handle
            First thing after: The paper towel I prepared for drying my hands, turning off the faucet, and opening the restroom door.

            Or in the case of my current office: The paper towel I prepared for drying my hands as the faucet is automatic, and the door opens out and has a kickplate.

            Clever janitors have realized that most people do this, and have placed a wastebin next to the restroom exit door for 'door opener towels'

        • For phones it's ridiculous (though possibly harmless) but what about ATM's and other touch screens that can be used by hundreds, possibly thousands, of people each day?

          Come on. ATMs, really? Wouldn't door knobs, faucet and toilet knobs, stair railings and cart handles be a much higher priority? These are all things you puts your hands on that have been touched by thousands other people. So where do you stop then?

          Those are all nice but the subject at hand is screens and uses for anti-bacterial glass. I guess you could make it into those things but many metals have built in anti-bacterial properties.

      • by Xest (935314)

        What about them? Humans didn't evolve in a vacuum, we evolved to encounter and co-exist with bacteria. Making ATMs bacteria proof wont magically protect you from them, it'll just mean your body is even less well equipped to cope when you inevitably do encounter harmful bacteria elsewhere.

        Just stick to basic hygiene like washing your hands before you eat and you'll be fine. GP is right, it's like some kind of cultural OCD.

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          What about them? Humans didn't evolve in a vacuum, we evolved to encounter and co-exist with bacteria. Making ATMs bacteria proof wont magically protect you from them, it'll just mean your body is even less well equipped to cope when you inevitably do encounter harmful bacteria elsewhere.

          Just stick to basic hygiene like washing your hands before you eat and you'll be fine. GP is right, it's like some kind of cultural OCD.

          Yes, because it's not like there have ever been problems with spread of bacteria [wikipedia.org] in the past and it also doesn't seem like it will ever be a problem [wikipedia.org] in the future either! Who needs to worry about bacteria! Nature wouldn't make something that could hurt me, would it?

          Hand washing is great, but that doesn't mean reducing bacteria count on contact surfaces doesn't help since hand washing alone is certainly not 100% effective.

          • Re:Phobia... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Xest (935314) on Monday July 08, 2013 @09:43AM (#44215237)

            "Yes, because it's not like there have ever been problems with spread of bacteria in the past and it also doesn't seem like it will ever be a problem in the future either! Who needs to worry about bacteria! Nature wouldn't make something that could hurt me, would it?"

            So what are you saying exactly, that you believe that if we could just bacteria proof mobile phones, and ATMs and such that nature will no longer produce anything to hurt you? It's precisely that naivety that I'm pointing out the idiocy of. All it means is that we'll end up with bacteria that evolves mechanisms to defeat the anti-bacterial technologies we implement making them even more difficult to deal with.

            I didn't claim that bacteria can't be harmful, but simply that we don't need to go to absurd extremes to try and eliminate all bacteria that we may encounter because that's frankly fucking stupid and nonsensical. There will always be bacteria and there will always be some degree of chance that it will evolve into something very dangerous. Bacteria "proofing" ATMs and so forth without all also wearing masks to stop the spread of airborne bacteria and bacteria proofing our clothes, any handrails we may touch, any food we may eat and everything else isn't going to magically change that at all, there'll still be an ever present threat of a dangerous form of easily spread bacteria however you cut it, the difference is that when it does come it'll have already had to evolve to defeat the low hanging options for dealing with it that we might otherwise have had if we didn't engage in paranoid splashing of said technologies left right and centre to no practical benefit at the time.

            • by jeffmeden (135043)

              >

              I didn't claim that bacteria can't be harmful, but simply that we don't need to go to absurd extremes to try and eliminate all bacteria that we may encounter because that's frankly fucking stupid and nonsensical.

              Who claimed that we should "go to absurd extremes to try and eliminate all bacteria that we may encounter"? Not me. Not TFA. You did, as a straw man for your bizarre pro-bacteria agenda.

          • Neither of the bacteria you mention are spread by contact, so antibacterial surfaces will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on them. Not exactly a good argument for your case.

      • So? Being exposed to a variety of bacteria is actually GOOD for the immune system. How can you fight off what you've never been exposed to?

        This whole germ-a-phobia is what's making the world sick!

    • What would happen if the average American were to realize that his/her own body contains ten times more bacteria than cells?

      Since bacteria are cells, you probably wanted to say "human cells". Also, wasn't the figure something like a thousand, not just ten? The neat thing about bacteria is that they are so small that you can really have a lot of them.

    • by Cenan (1892902)

      Actually it's not all ridiculous. Most people don't lick their phones, but they don't wipe them off regularly either. That's not really an issue until they have to answer a call and put the phone to their ear. On most smart phones the only thing touching the ear when you use it for a call, is the glass surface, and making that part of the phone anti-bacterial is not a wholly stupid idea.

      Installing a wet-wipe dispenser on the phone, now that would be a stupid idea. Educating people about hygiene would probab

      • Uhmm...... I thing that very few infections are passed on through the ears.....

        • by Canazza (1428553)

          You've never had an ear infection have you?

          • Re:Phobia... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by bickerdyke (670000) on Monday July 08, 2013 @07:38AM (#44214673)

            No. I've had luck here so far.

            But I'm quite sure that if I ever will catch one, it won't be from pressing my cellphone display against my ear. I'd me worried much more worried about those earbuds on my mp3-player or touching my keyboard before scratching my ear.

            But it might still be a valid point for ATM-Touchscreens.

            But always keep in mind that exposure to microorganisms is vital to develop a healthy immune system. sanitizing everything is bad for your long-term health. Anyone still thinks long-term at all nowadays?.

            • by jeffmeden (135043)

              No. I've had luck here so far.

              But I'm quite sure that if I ever will catch one, it won't be from pressing my cellphone display against my ear. I'd me worried much more worried about those earbuds on my mp3-player or touching my keyboard before scratching my ear.

              But it might still be a valid point for ATM-Touchscreens.

              But always keep in mind that exposure to microorganisms is vital to develop a healthy immune system. sanitizing everything is bad for your long-term health. Anyone still thinks long-term at all nowadays?.

              Don't worry, you will still get plenty of germs in you even if every cellphone and ATM you ever touch is germ-free. TFA points out how this type of glass is effective at killing MRSA, which means that one more commonly touched thing in hospitals can prevent infection instead of harboring germs. Unless you want to get MRSA just so your immune system is "healthy", in which case please don't reproduce.

        • by Cenan (1892902)

          Mouth, nose, eyes and ears are the entrances to your body (top-side at least), people don't tend to lick, sniff or rub their phone in their eyes. The ears however is a different story.

          • But unlike the others, the ear is seperated from your inner body by a watertight seal, as no material needs to be transfered for hearing. (unlike smells and tastes, that need to bring chemicals into contact with receptor cells)

            In general, I'd say the parts of the ear that are exposed to the outside of your body, are at least as well guarded against bacteria as the rest of your body surface (skin)

            That, and you don't put your phone into your ear. I'd be more concerned about those in-ear headphones.

          • When I was younger (much, much younger) I had a girlfriend who liked licking ears. I always found it just a bit creepy, but nowhere near as surprising as when she stuck her tongue in my ass. I had never imagined anyone would do that...

            Oops, sorry... :-}
          • by Zinho (17895)

            . . . people don't tend to lick, sniff or rub their phone in their eyes.

            No, but they tend to touch their phones with their fingers. And touch their eyes with their fingers. I'm watching a co-worker poke himself in the eye right now. I'll be generous and assume he washed his hands after using the restroom, but if he's the type to text on the toilet ($DEITY I hope not) I think there's a risk there.

            An anti-bacterial surface (like the titanium dioxide mentioned elsewhere) would be a benefit for a too-large-for-my-comfort segment of smartphone users.

      • Most people don't lick their phones

        Are you proposing a new type of user interface?

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        Glass that doesn't infect you with your own ass-germs is the sensible middle ground-ish.

        you're doing it wrong

    • Well we do have uses for this stuff beyond Smart Phones, and Tablets.

      Think of Kiosks where you have hundreds of people touching these things, and only a few think of whipping it out, and some of these people have more than the bacteria that lives on a normal healthy people but bad ones too.

      Health Care would love touch interaction however they are still using a lot of Membrane Buttons for what they are doing because it is better microbial.

      Or other technologies.. Say a digital cutting board. It shows you whe

    • Re:Phobia... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:28AM (#44215647)
      Really? Americans? It's a phobia? You ever notice how all major plagues recently started in Asia, where their health standards and practices are summed up by raw meat hanging on a wooden peg on an open street market?
  • by hankwang (413283) on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:54AM (#44214407) Homepage

    Anti-reflection coatings by themselves are nothing new. AR coatings that are scratch-resistant might be more tricky. But I would be really impressed if they can make it anti-reflective even when covered with fingerprints.

    AR coatings are based on thin layers with thicknesses tuned and accurate to 20 nm or less and well defined refractive indices, matched to the refractive index of the air on one side and the glass on the other side. It's hard if not impossible to make a coating that keeps working even with an undefined number of micrometers of skin grease on top.

    My glasses (eyewear) have a very nice AR coating, but fingerprints turn it into a colorful reflector.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      Anti-reflection coatings by themselves are nothing new. AR coatings that are scratch-resistant might be more tricky. But I would be really impressed if they can make it anti-reflective even when covered with fingerprints.

      AR coatings are based on thin layers with thicknesses tuned and accurate to 20 nm or less and well defined refractive indices, matched to the refractive index of the air on one side and the glass on the other side. It's hard if not impossible to make a coating that keeps working even with an undefined number of micrometers of skin grease on top.

      My glasses (eyewear) have a very nice AR coating, but fingerprints turn it into a colorful reflector.

      It probably doesn't matter so much. Almost everyone seems to insist on putting a screen protector on which mucks the whole thing up anyway.

      (the only useful thing i've seen a screen protector do is hold the fragments together when it cracks, but that's like wrapping yourself in bandages all day so your guts don't fall out in the unlikely event that you get hit by a car)

      • by swb (14022)

        I find screen protectors invaluable. I replace mine about every five months because the gouges and scratches in the protector get so bad you can't see the screen well.

        I've used PowerSupport screen protectors but needed a new one on short notice and bought a new Belkin that seems even clearer and thus far has resisted pocket scratches from keys, etc.

        After seeing the beating my screen protector takes and other people's non-protected screens with scratches, I'm just not willing to gamble with a $100 smart ph

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        Anti-reflection coatings by themselves are nothing new. AR coatings that are scratch-resistant might be more tricky. But I would be really impressed if they can make it anti-reflective even when covered with fingerprints.

        AR coatings are based on thin layers with thicknesses tuned and accurate to 20 nm or less and well defined refractive indices, matched to the refractive index of the air on one side and the glass on the other side. It's hard if not impossible to make a coating that keeps working even with an undefined number of micrometers of skin grease on top.

        My glasses (eyewear) have a very nice AR coating, but fingerprints turn it into a colorful reflector.

        It probably doesn't matter so much. Almost everyone seems to insist on putting a screen protector on which mucks the whole thing up anyway.

        (the only useful thing i've seen a screen protector do is hold the fragments together when it cracks, but that's like wrapping yourself in bandages all day so your guts don't fall out in the unlikely event that you get hit by a car)

        Actually, if you get right kind [amazon.com] of screen protector, it does much more than that.

        Every touch device I have, this is the first thing I put on. It's great: no more annoying reflections and a greatly reduced quota of smudgy fingerprints. You still get some (it's not chicken-wing-sauce proof, that's for sure), but it is a vast improvement over the typically glossy, shiny, have-to-wipe-them-down-after-every-single-use bare screens. The protection from accidental screen scratches is simply a side benefit.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I wonder where they lose the light if it's supposed to make the screen visible in sunlight.

      • You don't 'lose' the light. When light waves strike the AR coating some of the light is immediately reflected towards your eye. While the remaining light passes through the AR coating and is then reflected off a secondary surface towards your eye. However, as it passes through the AR coating the phase of the light is changed so that it 'destructively interferes' with the reflected light that did not pass through the AR coating, and therefore you see the reflection at a lower 'intensity'.

        The goal is to ge

    • AR coatings in 'ruggedized' military and avionic displays is very common, the coatings are durable. Likewise, when used on a touchscreen an oleophobic (repels oil) coating can be used on top of the AR coating to minimize smudges and finger prints.

      Also, it should be kept in mind that the cover-glass is only accounts for the 'first' reflection in the 'lamination stackup'. In order for an anti-reflection technology to work all subsequent air gaps need to be removed or similarly index matched to prevent sec

  • Anti-Glare (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @05:59AM (#44214421)

    That'll stop people glaring at me when my phone rings during the pianissimo of Haydns Surprise Symphony.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday July 08, 2013 @06:06AM (#44214437)

    What are we going to do with them now?

    • by NIK282000 (737852)

      Send them ahead to the next planet so all the phones will be clean by the time we arrive!

  • by Zorpheus (857617) on Monday July 08, 2013 @06:32AM (#44214505)
    My Nokia 5630 had a transflective LCD. This was always readable in the sun and even when the backlight was turned off. It works by having a partially reflecting layer between the LCD matrix and the backlight.
    I really miss that feature on today's phones. I think they stopped selling this kind of displays because they look less good in the light conditions that you have in shops, since the partially reflecting layer also reflects some of the backlight.
    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Nokia's 'ClearBlack' technology uses some kind of polarizing wizardry to achieve daylight readability. It works. My old Nokia N9's AMOLED was much more sunlight readable with the brightness turned all the way down than my current Nexus 4's IPS is with the brightness turned all the way up. They still use it in their Lumia devices.

    • My Nokia 5630 had a transflective LCD. This was always readable in the sun and even when the backlight was turned off. It works by having a partially reflecting layer between the LCD matrix and the backlight.

      I really miss that feature on today's phones. I think they stopped selling this kind of displays because they look less good in the light conditions that you have in shops, since the partially reflecting layer also reflects some of the backlight.

      You are probably one of those commerce-hating commies who thinks that 'Retail Thermonuclear' isn't a valid display ICC profile, and that some technobabble involving 'Hz' and 'linearity' is more important to audio performance than 'Best Buy Car Audio bootay-thump' is...

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I had one of those and it was really cool being able to see the clock displayed all the time without the backlight being on. The few tens of microamps needed to maintain the image didn't affect the battery life in any noticeable way.

      The problem was that when the backlight was on the colours were not that good. Compared to an AMOLED or high end LCD it wasn't up to much.

      Sharp still make such displays, but they are mostly for ultra low power devices rather than phones.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      My 2011 Xperia Play has a transflective LCD, and it's a near-4" phone. It's really quite hilarious, because you must get every iota of grease off of the phone to see it in sunlight, and then you still have to deal with the scratches on the screen protector. The screen protector is not optional, users who remove it and do not replace it reliably experience digitizer failure. However, once you wipe the screen well, it really does show up perfectly as long as you orient yourself correctly to the sun...

      My take

    • No, they stopped selling them because transflective displays are limited by resolution. You can still get cheapy phones with them in Asia, but smartphones with HVGA or greater screen resolution don't have the space for the extra reflective part of the pixel that is required. One compromise is to use monochrome for the reflective part, which is what you see on the MotoACTV and WIMM smartwatches.

  • Maybe they're planning on imprinting the anti-reflective properties directly on the surface of the glass vs just using a coating? This has been possible with silicon for a few years now.
  • It is believed that we are 10 times more microbial cells on and in our bodies than there are human cells.

    With a ratio of 90% microbial and 10% basically there is an estimated 100 times more microbial genes than the genes in our human genome. So, we are in essence both human and bacteria. I hope this new anti-microbial glass doesn't have any nasty side effects...
  • Wake me up when they have:
    • Fingerprint-proof screens
    • Waterproof screens (and phones)
    • Shatterproof screens
    • Sunlight-readable screens

    Yes, I know, I know - it has been done already. So why isn't it in the latest and greatest?

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:27AM (#44214833)

    It isn't the glare that keeps me from seeing my smart phone screen in direct sunlight, it is the relatively dim backlight compared to the bright sunlight that keeps me from seeing my smart phone screen. Actually, I see the screen just fine. It's the lcd crystals that are the problem.

  • Antibacterial?

    Finally, an iPhone screen made for the dirty-old-man in all of us!

  • by azav (469988) on Monday July 08, 2013 @10:18AM (#44215543) Homepage Journal

    Great. Another chance to make bacteria resistant to something else.

  • telephone sanitizers who will be put out of work?

    And one unexpectedly dirty phone could doom our society....

  • They think that its more important to look at their products--than into them.

  • Because the odds of cracking screens on smart phones are so high, why don't the device makers design the phones so that they can be more easily replaced? I replaced my wife's iPhone 4 screen after she dropped the phone on its edge. My kid also cracked his iPod Touch 4 screen the same way. Replacing the iPhone screen wasn't horrible, but it could have been easier if Apple just sold a replaceable screen/button assembly that just plugged into the rest of the phone. The iPod Touch replacement seems like more of

  • Corning's on a marketing offensive against sapphire, which is up and coming as a cover glass material. It's massively stronger than Gorilla (TM) Glass and so can offer better protection for the same thickness from impacts (although Corning will argue the opposite). The main problem has been that it's been expensive, but for some applications it's perfect (I'm looking at you smart watches) and the price is coming down, down, down.

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