Fresh Off The Block


Corning working on new, self-disinfecting Gorilla Glass smartphone screens

Corning, makers of one of the most popular types of glass used to make screens on modern smartphones, is apparently planning to make it even better. Already famous for the Gorilla Glass that offers tough, highly impact-proof screens which can be curved to provide an ergonomical form factor for phones against the ear, Corning are now reportedly working on a new iteration of Gorilla Glass with an anti-microbial layer.

By "anti-microbial", what Corning mean is the glass will contain a chemical that acts as a constant disinfectant on the screen. Supposedly able to kill 99.9% of common germs found on a phone, the chemical is always reacting with the screen's surface and, so Corning claim, can completely disinfect a typical smartphone screen in two hours, meaning a phone could be left on a table for a while and then could be picked up and be clean and safe to use without ever needing to touch a disinfectant wipe or cleaning cloth. Given the wide variety of places a smartphone is used nowadays – many people never allow it to leave their hands for long and constant exposure to one's hands – plus the added bacteria that could be picked up if a person regularly uses it near food or takes them to less hygenic places such as toilets – phones can easily get dirty surprisingly quickly, so a technology that can help to clean a phone screen by itself is incredibly clever.

Corning aren't stopping there, however. Also on the agenda for the next iteration of their glass screen technology, the company apparently want to improve the clarity of the glass so as to make the screens as transparent as possible, which would help to improve colour and visibility of what's on the screen. Reports from the company suggest that they already expect the new screens "to be as transparent as purified water" – which, if true, would be some amazingly clear glass indeed.

While Corning are giving no words as yet as to how close the screens are to being shown off or when they'll go into mass production, people are already highly excited and eager to see it on the next wave of smartphones. The real question though, is how much of a premium will have to be added to the cost of each phone to subsidise what is unlikely to be a cheap new technology, for which only time will tell. More news as we get it!