Insects’ eyes might be the key to reducing screen glare and reflections

January 27, 2013
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What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

Screen glare is perhaps one of the more annoying aspects of smartphone and tablet screens. This will usually render your phone or tablet unusable — or at least annoyingly reflective — outdoors. Even in an indoors setting, overhead lighting, sunlit windows or other sources of light can cause glare.

Some users will compensate for this with increased screen brightness, but this results in faster battery drain. Older devices used to come with non-reflective matte screens. But with today’s touchscreen phones, glossy glass screens are the norm.

So how do we solve screen glare aside from keeping indoors most of the time? Glass manufacturers are turning to insects. For one, Asahi Glass Co., a Japanese glass-making company that creates glass for the automotive and electronics industry, is experimenting with a nano-structured coating that’s akin to the so-called “moth’s eye” approach found in nature. In partnership with device-maker Rolith, the companies are using the proprietary “Rolling Mask lithography”  method to create nano-structures on large glass panels in a cost-effective process.

Asahi Glass Technology

The resulting glass reduces reflections from the surface, which results in an exceptionally wide wavelength spectrum, and as a side effect, has a wider viewing angle. It is estimated that traditional glass will reflect about 4% to 8% of light as a cause of the transition between materials within the glass’ layer that come with different refractive indices. Rolling Mask litography will reduce this, thereby making smartphones, tablets and other devices more usable.

The process is still being developed through the partnership, so it might take some time before the actual application will surface in consumer-geared industries and products like cars, displays and mobile devices. But it’s a step toward the right direction. Once Asahi, Rolith and perhaps other glass-making firms like Corning, perfect their anti-glare technologies, we would be able to view our smartphone, tablet and notebook computer screens more clearly even in direct sunlight.

Image credit: Insect eyes / Shutterstock

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