Tech Biz

New Gorilla Glass: Anti-Glare, Anti-Bacterial (And Coming to Cars?)

Corning’s ultra-strong tech glass is getting a makeover and some new applications.

By J. T. Quigley for

Last month, Corning Incorporated announced that the company’s extremely successful Gorilla Glass is being utilized on more than 1.5 billion consumer electronics devices across the globe. Gorilla Glass can be found on a vast number of popular gadgets, including Apple iPhones and iPads, HTC’s “One” line of smartphones, and the Dell XPS Ultrabooks. The latest iteration, Gorilla Glass 3, is the cover glass of choice for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 handset.

The next generation of Gorilla Glass, likely to be called Gorilla Glass 4, will do more than protect consumer electronics from scratches and greasy fingerprints. Corning promises to greatly reduce the reflectiveness of its product, as well as incorporating an anti-bacterial element.

At MIT’s Mobile Technology Summit in June, Corning’s senior vice president Jeffrey Evenson made an appearance to show off his company’s new reflection-blocking technology. Android Authority described the scene:

“[Evenson] showed an image of a thin sheet of glass that appears to have a hole at its center. The hole, as Evenson revealed, turns out to be the portion coated by Corning's new anti-reflection solution. There was actually no hole on the glass! It was an optical illusion that demonstrated the kind of technology that would seem to be the perfect solution to the visibility limitations of most displays outdoors, under bright sunlight.”

Corning was also able to show off another exciting feature that could debut with the next generation of Gorilla Glass, although it is initially targeted at medical devices. “The number of germs on a smartphone exceeds the number of germs on a public toilet,” Evenson said at the MIT summit. Fortunately, his company has developed an antimicrobial coating that can reduce the build-up of germs that occurs when devices are used and shared. Android Authority continued:

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“Evenson showed a clip that compares bacterial presence between standard glass and the new Corning antimicrobial glass after two hours. A microscopic view of the two glass surfaces showed the apparent effectiveness of Corning's antimicrobial solution. The company claims that their new glass offers more than 106 bacterial reduction potential.”

On top of the good news for consumer electronics, Gorilla Glass may be coming to automobile dealerships as well. Gorilla glass is lighter and stronger than regular glass, so incorporating it into the construction of future vehicles could reduce weight, thus boosting fuel economy. Evenson also claimed that cars using Gorilla Glass would suffer from less road noise than cars with ordinary windows. He expects at least one luxury automaker to include Gorilla Glass by the end of the year.

Corning may have one more trick up its sleeve for 2013, in the form of flexible glass. The company’s new “Willow Glass” is ultra-slim and bendable. In theory, the glass could be used to cover mobile devices that can twist and roll up without breaking.

“Willow glass has the potential to usher in entirely new product categories based on flexible display technology,” wrote IntoMobile. “Corning is currently working with certain vendors to aid in manufacturing projects using Willow glass for shipment hopefully by the end of the year.”