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March 15th, 2011

Video of the week: Corning’s ‘A Day Made of Glass’

Published on March 15th, 2011 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

(h/t to KB) Corning recently published a video, “A Day Made of Glass,” which the company says is its vision for the future with specialty glass. It’s an interesting video that has already racked up 9,000,000 views in just one month.

However, I suspect we actually don’t really see much of Corning’s vision that really qualifies as “visionary.” That’s the kind of thing that company officials can be counted on to keep to themselves. (For some serious discussion of Corning’s general strategy, see my video of Joseph Miller’s revealing presentation from the 2009 PACRIM conference.)

But, you do get a sense from the video how smartphone and existing GUI technology could be extrapolated, with Gorilla Glass-covered or EagleXG glass displays embedded ubiquitously. Corning acknowledges that it can manufacture Gorilla and EagleXG glass (and possibly even the photo-reactive glass) in the “Gen 10” dimensions (9′ X10′) already.

What I found most interesting is Corning’s ideas for flexible glass applications (starting at the 3:50 mark). Again, Corning already has some items in this product line, but they seem to be suggesting that they think they will be able to move from just a roll-to-roll processing level of flexibility to something super flexible, thin and tough. I hope that’s true.

But regarding the future, my sense is that what’s delaying the type of applications Corning features in the video have little to do with Corning and more to do with 1) immature software development, 2) high price points for consumers and retailers, given current demand, 3) uncertain form factors, and 4) inadequate cell networks (think of what ATT struggles to support now) and Wi-Fi systems. There are potentially many other disruptive technologies that could quickly change how we think about these things (e.g., a mature Kinect-type system could eliminate the need for “touch” surfaces).

And about those the Wi-Fi system challenges,  Om Malik has a new story (which should be available to the public Wednesday) pointing out that that experts say “by 2012, we will have between four and five devices around us with Wi-Fi built into them. I actually have more than that even now: a phone, a tablet, a computer; an Internet-connected set-top box [Apple TV] and a digital camera with Eye-Fi. Tomorrow, it wouldn’t be preposterous to imagine your microwave communing with a server over a wireless connection.” Or, all the other electric items in your household — the Smart Grid will eventually force this kind of communication.


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