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MIT creates glare-free, self cleaning super glass, to be used on smartphone screens in the future

April 30, 2012

While mobile phones and technology in general has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, sending users on paths that was the stuff of dreams a while back, there are still many serious problems that smartphone manufacturers have to address. Smartphone screens, while significantly sturdier and brighter than a few years ago, are still a pretty big hassle for users to use in direct sunlight and they are also fingerprint and dirt magnets.

Fortunately, scientists are working on a type of glass that could prove a boon for smartphone manufacturers and that could enter production in a few short years. The “super glass”, developed by researchers at MIT, virtually eliminates light reflections and is at the same time waterproof and resistant to dust, mud, and dirt.

Based on surface nanotextures that feature an array of conical structures, the “multifunctional” glass, as MIT calls it (though we prefer “super glass”), is self-cleaning and resists fogging and glare. In other words, it’s every tech geek’s dream, as it could open a whole sea of possibilities and be used in any “natural” environment imaginable.

As you can see from the short video clip below, the glass surface causes water droplets to bounce right off, like tiny rubber balls, and pulls dust where the beads bounce off. I know, that sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie directed by James Cameron, but MIT assures us that the glass is as real as it gets and it could be used soon enough to manufacture not only smartphones, tablets and computer screens, but also better solar panels and even car windshields or building windows.

For now, the biggest hurdle in the way of the glass becoming a staple in manufacturing smartphone screens is related to money. Unfortunately, it seems that the manufacturing costs for the super glass are pretty high and could well hinder the material’s large scale production.

On the other hand, research is still early and there’s hope for finding an inexpensive manufacturing process in the near future. If the bright minds at MIT will manage to solve this issue too, we can only imagine the sky being the limit for the applications of this material.

How about it, guys? How cool would a smartphone with a completely glare-free, water repellent, and self-cleaning surface be? How much would you be willing to pay for such a gadget? Hit us back with a comment and let us know!