Queen’s Tech Could End Fingerprint-Smudged Tablet & SmartPhone Screens

Published on: 2013/03/26 - in Featured Science & Tech

The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has outlined additional uses for the Queen’s University surface coating technology that the organization has invested $200,000 toward, as reported last month.

The funding will help quicken commercialization of this innovation, which could spell the end of smudge and fingerprint covered smartphone and tablet touch screens.

“We’re excited to partner with Queen’s and Lorama to support this fantastic product,” said OCE president and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. “With literally hundreds of millions of touchscreen devices being used daily, breakthrough technology that would make for a cleaner screen presents a huge business opportunity and would be an incredible showcase of a made-in-Ontario innovation that will create jobs and boost the local economy.”

This ‘smart’ coating technology, developed by Queen’s chemists Dr. Guojun Liu and Dean Xiong, has shown promise in repelling unwanted water and oil-based contamination from a wide range of surfaces that include glass, metals, wood, ceramics, plastics, fabrics, fibres, and paper.

Other commercial uses being considered involve making walls graffiti-proof, ship hulls resistant to marine organisms, and as an anti-icing and anti-fogging agent on glass.

“This super-amphiphobic technology is exciting because it has the potential to address a wide variety of industrial issues, while also benefiting the environment,” says Lucy Su, Commercial Development Manager at PARTEQ Innovations, the technology transfer office at Queen’s.

Lorama Inc., as a prominent manufacturer and supplier of novel additives to the paint and coatings industry, has partnered with Queen’s researchers in commercializing the technology.

“Lorama considers industry-academic collaborations vital in its drive to provide innovative products to the paint and coatings industry,” said Alison Crumblehulme, Director of Business Development at Lorama. “Such collaborations facilitate Lorama’s interaction with world-class Canadian researchers, allowing Lorama to tap into ground-breaking technologies stemming from our university campuses.”

OCE’s funding was made through its Collaborative Research program which accelerates innovation by promoting research partnerships of up to two years between industry and academia.

These partnerships result in commercially viable technologies which can then lead to new revenues and high-value jobs for Ontario. The OCE has earlier invested $25,000 in this ‘smart’ coating innovation through its Technical Problem Solving program.

“Ontario is home to some of the best researchers in the world. The work that they are doing today will bring the jobs of tomorrow,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. “I’m proud that through OCE, we are able to bridge the commercialization gap and connect them with industry to turn their research into game-changing products like this smart coating.”

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Photo: Chris Isherwood (cc)