Ick No More: Bacteria-Killing Touchscreen Glass

January 6, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Corning is introducing its Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass at CES this week – material embedded with ionic silver to kills the invisible germs that make people want to control touchscreens with their elbows.

Gorilla Glass is well established as a damage resistant glass substrate for all kinds of devices, starting with smartphones and scaling up from there. Now the company is dealing with the Ick Factor of shared touch surfaces .

“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,” said James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials. “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.”

Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass is being tested with numerous manufacturers for various applications, and high-volume production capability has been demonstrated. The RoomWizard by Steelcase, a web-based room scheduling system, will feature Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass and will be showcased at CES.

“As more people move through shared work spaces, there is an increased need for antimicrobial surfaces,” said Allan Smith, vice president of Product Marketing for Steelcase. “We are excited to introduce Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass on the RoomWizard scheduling device and look forward to working on future products incorporating this innovation.”

Antibacterial wipes, foams, sprays, and films exist today, but they are temporary, and many device manufacturers advise against them. Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass can be installed in electronic devices such as computers, cellular phones, calculators, telephones, and other electronic display panels. Other markets for Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass include frequently touched interior architectural surfaces in the health care, hospitality, and transportation industries.

There’s no indication of cost, but I’d think this would definitely add a few percentage points on the cost of a touch screen display. However. any company that is doing wayfinding directories in places like health care facilities would/should be interested in this. I’d like to be the guy coming in saying, “You know that thing about touching touchscreens, we’ve got that sorted …”


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