Smudge-Free Smartphone Screens: OCD Pipe-Dream or Near Reality?

So, touch screens are all the rage these days. I refuse to own one. Not because of any real preference for buttons, but because I would loathe owning a device I would be constantly wiping off. I hate my phone enough as it is- do I really need something that requires constant upkeep to keep my crazy in check?

See, I can’t stand screen smudges. And I don’t mean that I find them irritating, I mean that I absolutely cannot fucking abide them. The moment the screen on my iPod (not one of the fancy touch ones, just a classic) gets so much as a fingerprint on it, I’m wiping it off. Same with my phone. I only have a tiny little screen, but by the Nine (…I’m chilling in Tamriel again, sorry), it must be smudge free.

And so, I cling obstinately to my non-touch screen tech, dreading the day I’m forced to switch over to one of those spastic-twitch-causing contraptions.

Thank all the gods I don’t believe in for science, though, because it’s coming to my rescue yet again. Because a new material created by the folks at the University of Twente’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology may solve all our smudged screen problems.

The nanotechnologists have created a silicon surface that not only repels water, but also oil. Of course, when I say “repel,” I don’t mean the water/oil rocket off the surface like so many tiny bullets, but rather that the water/oil beads up and is retained on the surface of the material.

Now, this is certainly not the first water-repellent material scientists have created. In fact, this particular material works in a similar fashion to previous water-repellent materials. These water-repellent surfaces are covered in neat little arrangements of pillars less than one-hundredth of a millimeter high, and the water sits on top of these pillars in perfect little beads:

The water droplets can then just roll right off the surface, leaving nothing behind on the surface. However, if the water droplets are allowed to sit on the surface for too long and begin to evaporate, they can eventually slip down into the spaces between the pillars. And so, the surface can still get dirty.

But this fancy new material is different. The scientists went in and modified the shape and texture of those little pillars, resulting in a material that actually prevents the water/oil from dropping down into the gaps as it evaporates. The little water/oil pearls stay neatly on top of the surface. Always.

If we start using this material on our touch screens instead of the current materials (which are water/oil repellent to a point), we just might have ourselves touch screens that cannot get dirty. Or something very, very close.

Perhaps I’ll soon be able to loosen my vice grip on my old, button-filled tech. Until then, however, you keep your smudgy smartphones the fuck away from me.

One response to “Smudge-Free Smartphone Screens: OCD Pipe-Dream or Near Reality?

  1. “Perhaps I’ll soon be able to loosen my vice grip on my old, button-filled tech. Until then, however, you keep your smudgy smartphones the fuck away from me.”

    I lol’d so hard

    From how you’ve described it I have the exact same ocd as you my friend (chilling in tamriel eh.. bet ocd kills gaming for you a bit as well (cleaning tv, controller etc like me)

    I own a mozart 7 windows htc smartphone and let me tell you, NEVER, EVER, get this. the smudges are obvious from the instant you touch it & whats worse is the screen actually scratch’s just from typical use, needless to say I’ve ordered armored plating ( case & screen protector >.>).

    It’s awful. I hate ocd :'{

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