Anyone who owns a smartphone almost certainly has smudges all over its touchscreen. Most of us have learned to live with it, but scientists are trying to come up with a solution that involves using the same ingredient that goes into sunlight-activated plastic for keeping lawn furniture clean for long periods while kept outdoors. The same sort of thing could potentially be realistically worked into a coating for touchscreens to create a smudge-resistant surface.
Titanium dioxide is a chemical that’s commonly found in a number of cosmetics, sunscreens and paint used to stop any slimy layers from forming at the surface. “If you apply a thin coating of titanium dioxide to a glass surface such as a smartphone screen, the skin oils and fingerprints gradually disappear from the display by themselves,” a statement from the study said.
At this point in the research, the glass coating with the chemicals needs to be exposed to sunlight for about an hour in order for it work. It’s a big step up from the previously needed three full days of sunlight exposure, but it’s still not exactly idea since most people wouldn’t consider leaving their smartphones or tablets out in the sun for so long. Researchers are currently also working on a way for the glass coating to be activated by indoor lighting in place of direct sunlight.