New York-based manufacturers, Corning have unveiled the latest piece of technology expected to influence the ever-changing world of smartphones and electronic tablets over the coming months and years.
Willow Glass is the new material which can be used as screens for electronic devices, but has a unique quality in that they can bend and wrap around the system. This follows on from the Gorilla Glass concept which was first launched in 2007 by the same company and which has been used by a host of globally-renowned manufacturers since its inception.
575 products, across 33 different manufacturers have implemented Gorilla Glass, which was first utilised by Steve Jobs as part of the iPhone revolution back in 2006.
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Corning have also released details on Gorilla Glass 2, which is said to have the same strength as the original despite being thinner, but in spite of this, the new Willow Glass concept has been tipped to take over the market as a consequence of its new manufacturing process and features.
The process in which the material is produced is called Fusion and consists of melting the ingredients at 500 centigrade before rolling out in a similar fashion to the printing press. This process is seen to be more efficient that its precursor and lends itself more effectively to mass production of extremely thin glass.
This flexible and innovative invention is not on its own in replacing the Gorilla Glass material but has certainly turned the most heads upon its unveiling at an industry trade show in Boston.
Another material called graphene had been widely tipped to take the mantle before it was beaten to the punch by Corning, but the scientists behind graphene production maintain that it is, in fact, the future.
Made from single-atom thick sheets, graphene is a form of carbon which is thought to have similar qualities to Willow Glass but with enhanced sensor functionality.
"We went from physical buttons to touch screens, the next step will be integrating some sensing capabilities," explained Professor Andrea Ferrari, a Cambridge University researcher.
"Your phone will be able to sense if you're touching it, will sense the environment around - you won't have to press a button to turn it on or off, it will recognise if you're using it or not."
Similarly, scientists in Canada and Arizona are also working on a prototype smartphone consisting of millimeter thick, flexible material which acts as a ‘small sheet of interactive paper’.