Gorilla Glass and Google Glass

Gorilla Glass and Google Glass 1

Since I am an eyeglasses purveyor I thought I should write something about which I know a little. Mainly I’m aware of the optical properties of lenses in glasses but not so much the manufacturing of them. Interestingly, some lenses we call high index and recommend them for patients that have a high prescription. Using high index materials will make the lenses thinner but can slightly degrade the optical quality called Abbe value.

I need to get something out of the way first. Google Glass is not made of glass. Not even the little optical part that is the display. It’s all plastic with some titanium. But it’s a cool name. Eyeglasses aren’t really made of glass either these days (with some exceptions). But there still is a lot of glass around in our world. Some of it is made to be stronger and thinner which is why there is Gorilla Glass (for our smartphones and other electronic devices).

Gorilla Glass is made by Corning. They invented it over 50 years ago but called it Chemcor back then. Not a very catchy name for advertising which goes to show you how important a name is. Before explaining the gorilla part of glass, I should start off by saying that basic glass is made of heated sand (mainly). Additives like soda ash (sodium carbonate) make the process easier (lower heat required) and other additives like lanthanum oxide are used for eyeglasses lenses (glass lenses). Most glass like window glass can be classified as soda-lime glass.

Back to Gorilla Glass which your smartphone might have as the top layer that is touched (I’ll mention a few of the other brands later). It is chemically treated which means the glass is made and then put in a hot solution of potassium which allows the larger potassium molecules to seep into the glass. That packs the molecules closer together and makes the glass stronger and more scratch resistant. It protects the layers underneath and actually can be part (or most) of the devices structural support.

But just because our smartphone touch screens have this strengthened glass, they are still susceptible to cracking. Small scratches or even invisible cracking reduces the strength and makes each additional drop or scratch that much more likely to lead to a visible crack(s). When the force of impact overcomes the surface compression of the molecules that make up the glass, you’ve got yourself a visible crack. Dropping your phone or device on it’s corner focuses that impact in one place whereas dropping it flat might spread the force over a larger area and not cause a crack.

Now on to a few of the other glass materials that might be in your phone, or your next one:

Willow Glass – one of Corning’s newest materials that is very flexible and could wrap around your wrist

Gorilla Glass 2 and 3 – stronger and more scratch resistant, probably in the newest iphones.

Lotus Glass – another Corning product that could be used in LCD displays along with Gorilla Glass

Nippon Electric Glass – one of their products only reflects 0.08% of the light which they say is practically invisible (usually plastic and glass reflect between 8% to almost 15% of light)

Samsung – Youm is a new flexible display that can wrap around like Willow Glass

Dragontrail – yes, there’s a marketing name

This glass stuff is a multibillion dollar industry and you know who’s helping all this innovation? You and I are by buying these electronic gadgets. I am up for a new iPad Air. I don’t know who manufactured the glass in those since Apple tries to keep secrets but I bet it’s Gorilla Glass. If you do break your screen there are DYI videos on how to replace them which might be much cheaper than paying someone else to fix it…that is, if you dare try yourself (it’s really not that difficult).

Here’s a youtube video about the very flexible Willow Glass….



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iphone iwatch idunno

iphone iwatch idunno 0

I know. I was just trying to tag along with the news. What I really think though is this new wearable computing stuff like the watches that are now coming out….are truly something to watch. What I mean by that is something that you look at. Why was a watch called a watch in the first place? Maybe our smartphones should have been called watches.

Apparently the word watch was not the first word used to describe that time piece on the wrist. It was wristlet. Wikipedia has a couple of different theories on why the word watch came about though. One of them makes more sense to me and it has to do with people who were on watch. See how I can tie this into vision ­čÖé They were watchmen and used their wrist time pieces to keep track of their shift. Maybe they looked at them a lot like people do their smartphones these days.

I kept reading through the wikipedia article and found out something interesting about analog watches. You can use them to figure out which way is north or south….during the day of course. ┬áThere’s an easy way to do that at night. I hope you all know about the north star (polaris). It’s faint but always there and two points on the big dipper always line up with that north star and they are always there because they are circumpolar stars (they are always there all day and night, rotating). You mostly need to be in the northern hemisphere to see them however.

Back to how to figure north and south on an analog wristwatch. Aim the hour hand at the sun. Then look for 12 on your watch. Halfway between the 12 and where you lined up the hour hand will point south. Use 1 instead of 12 during daylight savings. Now I know which way is generally south. The sun is never really directly overhead even though it comes close sometimes. It’s usually in the southern half (hah! always I should have said) of the sky for us northerners. But you can’t point directly south that way so using an analog phone (that has the right time on it when you’re lost in the ocean) will point you south and opposite that is north.

One more thing about time. If you forgot all your watches and your smartphone battery died, you can tell how much daylight you have left before sunset. If you hold you arm out and count how many fingers in between the sun and the horizon, multiply how many fingers that takes by 15. Basically, each finger is worth approximately 15 minutes. Keep your thumb out of the way…it’s too short!

Let’s see what kinds of technology people will start watching and wearing on their wrists besides fitbits.



hand and sun

hand and sun

analog watch

analog watch



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