Corning unveiled a new line of glass on April 19. Dubbed Vibrant Gorilla Glass, this line has toughened surfaces that allow the glass manufacturers to now print high-resolution images on the glass cover.
The 165-year-old company has been making glass for practically everyone -- from leading phone companies to NASA. After Project Phire last year, Corning has tapped a new market with its latest innovation of printable Vibrant Gorilla Glass, who sees strong potential for their products.
The company hasn't yet disclosed details regarding how it cracked the problem of making ink stick to the glass surface given its inert quality. However, from its statement, it seems the company invested a lot of time and money in chemically altering inks and coming up with a proprietary inkjet process that makes the whole deal possible.
"We spent a bit of time understanding inks and fluids, and how these adhere to glass," said Scott Forester, director at Gorilla Glass Innovations. "There's a lot of intellectual property around the equipment and ink formulation. It's a very different printing technology than what you see today."
According to Forester, the trick is to move away from the traditional ways of printing and make use of all the new possibilities to see which one of them works for ink adherence on the specifically designed toughened glass surface.
Corning's Vibrant Gorilla Glass has definitely opened up new business avenues, and the company is already in talks with "several large brands" for the product. Obviously you won't see inked designs on smartphone touchscreens, but there are many glass surfaces on a smartphone, like the back, where the company logo resides. A lot of brands have thus expressed their interest in adding multicolor to their logos, says the glass maker.
Moreover, users of different gadgets may also want to leverage this innovation to personalize their gadgets that will turn a commonly available model into a unique device.
The company has already started rolling out the tested line of glass to its customers, which means we may soon see devices donning the new glass on the store shelves.