Gorilla Glass and Google Glass

Gorilla Glass and Google Glass

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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Frosted vision cleared up

Frosted vision cleared up

I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered about something and just didn’t have the brain power to simply analyze and figure it out. I think a lot of us are like that when it comes to assembling something or installing software. We try to do it without reading the instructions or after looking at the poor illustrations of what part goes where we give up and then might start to analyze it. Maybe.

Perhaps seeing through frosted glass isn’t something I’ve really ever thought about so I didn’t even have a chance to use my brain power on this one. But there’s a simple trick and a simple explanation. It also has something to do with optics. Just take a piece of transparent tape and press it on the frosted side of the glass/window. It won’t work if you put it on the smooth side.

Here’s why it works. The frosted side has a lot of irregular edges so light bounces every which way. It’s like a cloud in the sky. There’s light in there but it’s rays are so scattered that we can’t see through it. But, if we fill in the little imperfections on the frosted side with the adhesive part of the tape and smooth it down a bit what happens is the imperfections are filled in which makes the surface more like smooth flat glass. That won’t work on a cloud though. Kinda hard to smooth tape around that.

Yes, we are going to get into optics just a little bit here and this applies to any optical surface that is irregular. I’ll use the front of the eye as an example. But first, don’t put tape on your eye. The eye’s irregularity is a little different than frosted glass. A person with astigmatism might have some irregularity on the front surface of the eye that can be corrected with a gas permeable lens in a similar way that the tape corrects the irregular surface of the frosted glass. A gas perm lens is a hard lens so you don’t press on it to fill in the irregular surface of the eye. What happens is the tears of the eye fill in the irregular areas underneath the gas perm lens so the whole optics system becomes a smoother surface for light to go through. Astigmatism can be corrected with soft lenses but those work more like glasses rather than smoothing out the actual surface.

Back to the tape and the window. One suggestion. Some frosted surfaces are just a plastic film put on the glass or even just sprayed on film. Don’t press the tape down on all edges. You want an easy way to peel it off without having to scrape the tape off.

One more thing. You could make a smooth surface without using tape. If you can put water or some other fluid on the surface and then press a clear flat piece of material against that you will create a smooth surface to see through. Maybe try corn syrup but then you have to clean that off. This could get a bit messy but others have mentioned other syrups or honey.

Here’s a video of someone putting clear tape on frosted glass:



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