Modern smartphones and tablets have a lot of great features, but they are almost impossible to see on a bright day.
Luckily, researchers have developed an antireflection film that might solve this problem, the solution comes from the eyes of a moth.
An Unlikely Solution
This new antireflection film features a surface reflection of 0.23 percent. For sake of reference, the iPhone 7 has a surface reflection of 4.4 percent.
The team, led by Shin-Tson Wu of the University of Central Flordia, reported its findings in the journal Optica.
"Using our flexible anti-reflection film on smartphones and tablets will make the screen bright and sharp, even when viewed outside," said Wu. "In addition to exhibiting low reflection, our nature-inspired film is also scratch resistant and self-cleaning, which would protect touch screens from dust and fingerprints."
The new film contains dimples which are about the size of a human hair. Aside from being effective, the film is also flexible and can be used on foldable devices which are also expected to hit the market within a few year's time.
Inspired By A Moth
Reflection is the main reason why smartphones and tablets are difficult to use on bright days. The sun's light reflects off the surface of the display and washes out the images on the screen. Hopefully, this technology will make it easier to see what's going on even on bright days.
Smartphones and tablets currently rely on sensors to detect light and then automatically adjust the device's brightness to compensate for the amount of light. This solution is only marginally effective and has the added downside of draining a device's battery faster than normal. There have been other attempts to fix this issue, but they've been met with mixed results.
In order to solve this problem, the research team turned to the eye structure of a moth. A moth's eyes are covered with antireflective nanostructures that allow the insects to see in the dark and prevent light from reflecting off their eyes in order to protect them from predators.
Such technology has been used before in the production of solar lenses, but it has never been attempted on devices as small as smartphones. The team does believe that widespread production is possible but did note that it would require a high amount of precision so we probably won't be seeing this until at least the next generation of smartphones.