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