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Self-disinfecting mobile displays could be less than two years away

By

July 8, 2013

E. coli are reportedly no match for Corning's antimicrobial glass (Image: Shutterstock)

E. coli are reportedly no match for Corning's antimicrobial glass (Image: Shutterstock)

According to a study conducted for Which? magazine in 2010, the surface of the average mobile phone contains 18 times the amount of harmful bacteria as a flush lever in a mens’ public toilet. Other studies have come up with other numbers, but the phone always comes out the dirtier of the two. To that end, Corning is now developing antimicrobial glass, which may be killing germs on your phone’s display within two years.

The announcement was made by Corning’s senior vice president Jeff Evenson at MIT Technology Review’s Mobile Summit, which took place in San Francisco last month.

He stated that the glass is intended to kill both drug-resistant bacteria and drug-resistant viruses. Although it was originally being developed for use in the health care industry, Corning has since decided to extend its applications to consumer products.

Although Evenson didn’t reveal just how the glass does its job, he did show some fairly impressive test results. In a lab experiment, fluorescent-tagged E. coli bacteria were placed on both regular glass, and a sample of the antimicrobial glass. While the bacteria levels stayed the same on the regular glass over time, they steadily declined on the other piece. After a period of two hours, almost all of the E. coli on the antimicrobial glass were obliterated.

Evenson mentioned the antimicrobial glass in a presentation about new technologies that his company is pursuing, all of which he stated “you will see in at least one consumer device in the next two years.”

Source: MIT Technology Review

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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4 Comments

unfortunately such anti microbial 'stuff' is continuously eroding the human body's resistance to the normal 'dirty' environment; as we get safer, and 'safer', and more 'protected', we get sicker and sicker, and less resistant!

[ i guess i will have to pass on devices with antimicrobial glass, even though they might suit my needs in every other way; until i am the last one standing - then i'm going to have to make my own smartPhone!]

Bruce Gavin Ward
8th July, 2013 @ 06:35 pm PDT

I assume the germs are almost all one's own on a smartphone, but on a tablet that gets passed around (like one used as a sales tool) this might be a good feature.

Bruce H. Anderson
9th July, 2013 @ 11:15 am PDT

May I suggest a name for this product? Bugger Off!

I do agree with Bruce. When you come to think of it, it is the way that vaccines were first discovered, where milkmaids got cowpox, which is relatively mild, and apparently gave them protection against smallpox, which is pretty deadly (at least that's the theory, but there is controversy about vaccination I believe. A lot of people are injured by vaccines)

windykites1
9th July, 2013 @ 11:33 am PDT

I bet silver figures into this design. It is frequently used against pathogens. You can get it woven into clothes now too. I saw an article (probably in Gizmag) about socks that used silver to keep them fresh naturally.

I make colloidal silver for my hot tub and I only use 1/10th of the chlorine I used to have to use and I only use the chlorine as a precaution.

warren52nz
9th July, 2013 @ 02:43 pm PDT
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