Soon, smartphones that protect you from bacteria

Smartphone bacteriaThe glass was unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014. (AP)

A US firm claims to have designed the world's first antimicrobial touchscreen glass which can combat bacteria and fungi.

The firm Corning said its Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass is formulated with an antibacterial agent, ionic silver, which is incorporated into the glass surface for sustained activity.

The glass can be installed in electronic devices such as computers, cellular phones, calculators, telephones, and other electronic display panels, the company said.

According to Corning, as touch technologies proliferate, consumers are becoming aware of how bacteria can exist on mobile devices, particularly as we increasingly share touch-enabled surfaces at home, work, and elsewhere.

"Corning's Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass inhibits the growth of algae, mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria because of its built-in antimicrobial property, which is intrinsic to the glass and effective for the lifetime of a device," said James R Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Speciality Materials.

The glass is being tested with numerous manufacturers for various applications, and high-volume production capability has been demonstrated.

"As more people move through shared work spaces, there is an increased need for antimicrobial surfaces," said Allan Smith, vice president of Product Marketing for Steelcase.

The company said antibacterial wipes, foams, sprays, and films exist today, but they are temporary, and many device manufacturers advise against them.

Other areas for the glass include frequently touched interior architectural surfaces in the health care, hospitality, and transportation industries, the company said.

The glass was unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014.

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