In the near future, consumers may start to own devices with displays that are not only crack- and shatter-proof, but also bulletproof.
This is possible through a new invention called Spinel, which uses a synthetic powdered clay to produces a translucent glass-like material. The new by-product can be formed into any shape, which means that it could present an opportunity for curved displays in mobile devices.
While made out of clay material, Spinel does not block infrared wavelengths of light and will allow colourful displays to work behind its protective layer.
"The advantage is it's so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments - so it can withstand sand and rain erosion," research lead Dr. Jas Sanghera said.
Apart from mobile devices’ screens, Spinel can also be used as a more robust lens for cameras, for example.
Surprisingly, this new invention that provides a possible revolution in mobile devices has been a product of 10 years’ worth of research by the U.S. Navy and was originally intended for military use, such as on camera lenses of drones, armour for vehicles and satellites.
Nevertheless, the new invention could possibly transcend more than military equipment and even change how mobile devices will be made in the future. Since Spinel is still in its development stage, it still is not certain as to when production of the material will take place; but it is not expected anytime soon.