They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So when my food science undergraduate child was home over the holidays and shared with us all the truly horrible ickiness that lurks on cell phone touch screens, we thought she was being a bit alarmist.
Maybe not, though.
It appears that Corning Inc. has come to the same conclusion. On Monday Corning announced an antimicrobial formulation of Gorilla Glass, which they introduced formally at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. According to the company press release, “As touch technologies proliferate, consumers are becoming aware of how bacteria can exist on mobile devices, particularly as we increasingly share touch-enabled surfaces at home, work, and elsewhere.” Eww.
The video above shows how the glass incorporates silver ions, which have well-known antimicrobial properties. Unlike cleaning chemicals that offer temporary purifications, the glass offers permanent cleanliness. “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,” says James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials, in the press release.
The company is testing the new cover glass with several device manufacturers now, but envisions it being used not just for smartphones, but anywhere where a touch screen is used by many people, like an ATM, and in places where germs could be especially harmful, like hospitals.