Corning ‘s New Glasses. Lotus Glass, Solar Glass and A Day Made Of Glass 2…

Corning, makers of the glass windows to our electronic lives have offered us a new window, a window into the future. After a big finish to last year with Gorilla Glass 2 Corning has had a massive start to the new year, keeping the momentum rolling with two new product announcements and the release of the video ‘A Day Made of Glass 2’.

Corning’s glimpse into the future portrays their vision for this not too distant future, a future surrounded by glass. A follow up to Corning’s very popular ‘A Day Made of Glass’ – snappy title – we join Corning in the not too distant future.

Corning has not only been busy producing videos to promote the future of glass, they have also made two new product announcements this week. With the new products Lotus Glass and Solar Glass Corning is building the world of the future one panel at a time. While Gorilla Glass gets all of the attention by protecting our favorite gadgets the two new products will help to change the world behind the scenes, these new glasses are essential for the improved and cheaper production of displays and photovoltaic cells.

A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision.

A Day Made of Glass 2

AM Glass

February 3rd saw the release of Corning’s. ”A Day Made of Glass 2” the follow-up to their highly successful “A Day Made of Glass” video. Of course in this vision of the future glass plays a role in almost everything. Literally becoming a window with computer generated graphics overlaid. The world seen as a background through the transparent display. Glass enabling a technological utopia where all of life’s problems are solved with the tap of a piece of glass. Augmented reality is commonplace with transparent displays offering a computer overlaid vision of the world, bringing Dinosaurs back to life.

In fact all glass surfaces in the future are capable of becoming a display, even the humble car dashboard has a glass finish able to change with a simple tap. Predictions of this kind are always an experiment in imagination, a thought on where we might be in a decade or two. Corning’s future initially appears to be just like our world today except with a Corning glass twist. Not only is every display transparent and touch sensitive but every piece of glass is a display. A world where all computers are a transparent panel of glass, touch sensitive and inter-connected. Data is shared between devices with the swipe of a finger and augmented reality is standard.

As well as ‘A Day Made Of Glass 2’ Corning has also released a behind the scenes exploration of the technology envisioned in the main video. A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning’s Vision – see the bottom of the article for the full video – takes us through a more detailed commentary of Corning’s vision of the future. A realistic commentary Unpacked clarifies the technologies that will soon be possible and those technologies that are a long way off. Obviously Corning generated a lot of buzz with the first video, buzz that included the usual noid technical questions of what was being seen. The second video may be Corning’s way to head off a lot of these technology questions. A nice addition to the purely visionary future that is the shorter A Day Made of Glass 2.

While their vision of the future may be a little corny – schmaltzy even – and is obviously slanted towards glass it is none the less an interesting exploration of the future. Touching on many of the other technologies that will need to advance this is more than an infomercial of the future of glass. Is the world of the future going to be covered in smudges and finger print? Will we soon differentiate between smart glass and dumb glass? Dumb glass being the one that makes you look dumb as you stand there tapping and swiping while nothing happens.

Lotus Glass

The Lotus Flower

Hot on the heels of Corning’s foray into video production – are they going for an Oscar ? – is Lotus Glass. First introduced to the world in October 2011, this week’s announcement sees Lotus Glass go into production at Corning and Samsung’s joint venture facility located in Korea. Officially announcing to the world their partnership and intentions to manufacture.

“Corning and Samsung have a long and successful partnership in the display industry, dating back nearly 40 years to the early days of television,” said Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman, chief executive officer, and president. “The strength of our business relationship is built on Corning’s ability to develop and make high-technology glass with the key attributes that enable Samsung’s next-generation displays.”

Lotus Glass is a new glass recipe specially designed for the approaching OLED TV revolution by providing a stable and reliable platform from start to finish during manufacturing. Corning hopes to improve the production of next generation televisions and touch screen gadgets, making them cheaper and more reliable.

What sets Lotus Glass apart from the current king of high tech glass that is Gorilla Glass is the intended use. While Gorilla Glass is a protective layer Lotus Glass is intended to sit behind the scenes. It is the layer of glass that all of the transparent circuits of the next generation displays will be printed onto, the substrate layer. Corning has given Lotus Glass a number of special properties that make it far better than the current generation of substrate glass in use. It has the ability to withstand the repeated high temperature cycles associated with the manufacture of displays and the circuits that sit behind every OLED and LCD TV in production today. The production processes require repeated heating and cooling as the layers of circuits are built up, resulting in warping of the glass and creating a lot of rejected parts, until now.

Lotus Glass has been specifically designed to maintain its shape and surface quality during these demanding high temperature processes. Currently companies such as Samsung have to deal with large amounts of waste during this process, something that will only get worse as larger OLED displays are manufactured. The larger the panel the more susceptible it is to heat warping. Not only is this announcement good news for the existing OLED manufactures, less waste, but it may be a great sign for larger OLED TV’s, Samsung is on the case.

Corning and Samsung are also claiming lower power devices through the use of Lotus Glass. This is possible as the is glass clearer and has a smoother flatter surface to lay the circuits onto. By being clearer more of the light produced makes it through and by providing a better surface the circuits have more efficient electrical properties – electron mobility -.

Photovoltaic – PV – Glass

Solar farm with PV Glass

Corning also this week announced the first orders of their PV Glass. After 3 years in development PV Glass and after the product announcement at the end of 2011 PV Glass has won its first customer and received its first order.

John Duke, business director for Corning Photovoltaic Glass Technologies, said, “Corning is committed to offering innovative glass substrates that enable increased solar conversion efficiency. This is just the beginning.”

Similar to Lotus Glass Corning has optimized the glass recipe specifically for the solar industry. The glass is stronger, clearer – higher transmission rates – and more heat resistant than tradition photovoltaic glass which allows thinner panels to be used, increasing the solar cells efficiency by 20 to 30%. Being a latest generation glass from Corning the PV Glass is more heat resistant and tougher. The enhanced heat resistance allows for more reliable manufacturing while the tough quality allows for longer lasting more durable solar cells. The heat resistance properties of the glass help during solar cell manufacturer by allowing higher temperatures to be used, producing more uniform semiconductor films which in turn increasing the finished PV cells efficiency.

Off to a running start Corning has kicked off the new year at full speed with new products and an updated vision of the future, a future Corning is tackling one electronic window at a time. With each new generation of glass Corning is protecting and improving our gadgets, improving solar cells and getting us closer to the day the whole world is made of glass. No longer a low tech substance glass is now one of the unsung heroes of the electronics world.

A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning’s Vision.

Blip Picture: Josh Simpson’s glass planets, Corning’s Museum of Glass
Further information: Corning