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Displays Japan Technology

'Invisible Glass' Solves Screen Reflection Problems 216

An anonymous reader writes "The days of dealing with very reflective glass panels may soon be behind us. Nippon Electric Glass has used the FPD International 2011 conference in Japan this week to show off its new 'invisible glass' panel. What NEG has done is added anti-reflection films to both the front and back of the glass that are only nanometers thick. Look at a typical sheet of glass and you will see about 8% of the light reflected off of it. With NEG's anti-reflection film in place, that is reduced to just 0.5%."
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'Invisible Glass' Solves Screen Reflection Problems

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  • But Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by John Bresnahan ( 638668 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:06AM (#37868990)
    has told me that I want a highly reflective screen!
    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      You silly, this is not for Apple devices. This is for banks' doors.

      "Occup..." -BOING/CRASH!-
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by taylorius ( 221419 )

        You silly, this is not for Apple devices. This is for banks' doors.

        So the banks can blame the special glass when their employees fail to be visible in reflections?

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:06AM (#37868992) Homepage Journal
    That's a really cool coating, but will it be destroyed the first time you have to wipe off dust/fingerprints/etc...? I've had this problem with anti-reflective coatings in the past, especially when they get wet for some reason.
    • The coating goes on both sides of the glass. You might wipe off the top layer, but I bet the bottom one will stay. So at the very least, I would expect a reduction from 8% glare to 5% glare, as opposed to 0.5%. 8 to 5 is still a over a 37% percent reduction.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Durability is a HUGE issue. Anyone that wears glasses knows that when you get the anti-glare coating, that means the glasses are impossible to clean and will scratch if you even fart too close to them.

      If they do this and it can withstand 10 psi of pressure on a 000 steel wool wad for 500 strokes witout any damage, I am suddenly very interested.

      • It's not just durability. Anti-reflection coatings also fail when someone touches the display and leaves behind a fingerprint: the oils in the fingerprint are thick enough to make it reflective again, so they really show up.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Yes, but I can think of damn many "no touch" surfaces like monitors, TVs, glasses, picture frames, glass doors, windows and so on that would benefit. It's not like everything has to be touch even though it's the new megahype.

          • People would be more likely to fail to see a glass door if it has anti-reflective film, resulting in them walking face-first into it and hurting themselves and possibly also damaging the door.

            • People would be more likely to fail to see a glass door if it has anti-reflective film, resulting in them walking face-first into it and hurting themselves and possibly also damaging the door.

              Not to mention rendering it reflective do to the smudging from the person's face.

            • So long as it's Justin Beiber [] doing the failing, there shouldn't be a problem. He's too small to damage the door.

            • Decals or other decorations can mitigate this, without falling back on turning the door into a mirror...

              • yeah for a retail store eye level is where the Branding Stripe(R) goes (or the POP signage for your current promo)

                depending on your store you may also want a BS at Knee level to catch ADA folks or your younger customers

            • Sadly, we must avoid door damage even if it costs us the humour of watching people walking face first into them.
          • People do touch their monitors. Quite a lot. You can tell by the fingerprints.

            • One of my friends is a monitor toucher. I called him out on it one day and he claimed he didn't do it. I stopped him in the act and pointed it out. He apparently never realized he did it. I got so sick of cleaning the screen of my laptop I keep by the couch.

          • I wonder if this will be applicable for laser optics? Those guys normally pay a huge amount for anti-reflective components. Also optics inside camera lenses. Complex lenses like common zoom lenses [] have lots of elements, and having light bouncing around all over inside the lens doesn't help image quality any.
            • by lgw ( 121541 )

              This is very old hat - quarter wave plates are hardly news. You can't even make a good zoom lens without it. I'm guessing what's new is the durability of the film, so that you can use it in more expsed places than the inside of a lens array.

      • by gparent ( 1242548 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:26AM (#37869276)

        I have anti-glare coating on my glasses and I have none of the problems you describe. My glasses aren't scratch anywhere noticeable, and cleaning it with a lint-free cloth is ridiculously simple.

        Hopefully your glasses aren't as old as your UID; this may explain the problem otherwise as I change mine rather regularly.

        • My anecdote: I also have an anti-glare coating on my glasses. After less than a year I started noticing what looked like chemical etching on my lenses. I work with chemicals but I never wear my glasses anywhere but at home (where I don't work with chemicals). I take them to the eye doctor to check it out. It was the coating coming off the lenses. So the thing I paid extra for to prevent me from not being able to see through my glasses made me not be able to see through my glasses. (and they wanted to charge

      • A bit off-topic, but I have found that using a very mild dish-soap and water to clean my glasses and drying with a soft cloth or paper-towels helps to preserve the anti-glare coating. I used to use Windex to clean them but found that it just ate up the ant-glare coating. The worst thing you can do is to use your shirt-tail to wipe your lenses clean, might as well take a piece of steel-wool to them.
      • If they do this and it can withstand 10 psi of pressure on a 000 steel wool wad for 500 strokes witout any damage, I am suddenly very interested.

        I'm trying to think of any time I've ever used steel wool on an electronic gizmo's glass...

      • Can glass survive that?

      • I've had good luck with simply a microfiber cloth and water when needed. No sprays of any kind.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Yep, that's what I was thinking of as well. Plus I'm sure there are other anti-reflection treatments, maybe 0.5% is a new record but it's not like 8% was the best we could do before.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        I thnik 0.5% is normal for a quarter wave plate (IIRC, circularly polarized light still has the normal 4% reflected off each boundary, though that physics class was some time ago).

    • I'm not sure about the ones that they are using, but very durable anti-reflective coatings have been available for years. They are used in UV filters for cameras.
    • If it's anything like the anti-glare coating on my glasses it will be very sturdy indeed. Of course that coating adds a pretty good chunk of change to the cost of the lenses, but it works like a charm and stands up to repeated cleaning with rubbing alcohol.

    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @12:01PM (#37869752)

      but will it be destroyed the first time you have to wipe off dust/fingerprints/etc

      No problem! Just put a thin coating of glass over it to protect it!

    • That's a really cool coating, but will it be destroyed the first time you have to wipe off dust/fingerprints/etc...?

      I expect it would hold up as well as your typical camera lens/filter coating; unless you really abuse it or use harsh chemicals, it will hold up well.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:08AM (#37869014)

    Oh, I can't wait for this to show up on phones and tablets! It is probably my #1 complaint about modern capacitive touchscreens. For example, I could use my Xoom as a mirror, before applying an anti-glare film on it. And films are hard to apply, sometimes not pretty, and sometimes reduce the touch sensitivity.

  • I'm sure Apple will love this!
  • "According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, up to 1 billion birds may be killed annually by colliding with windows."
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I thought they collided into pigs and blocks.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )
      Let them run Linux.
    • I read that birds have been seen flying into trees and hillsides. There is a reason we have the term "bird brained", birds are not smart and will fly into all kinds of things. Solid things. Things that are plainly visible. We'll see them run into windows because the window is transparent enough that a person can see the bird. Also, the glass does not deaden the sound as much as a solid wall meaning if we didn't see it then we'll hear it.

      Long ago when I lived on a dairy farm I'd see birds fly into the s

  • by craznar ( 710808 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:12AM (#37869076) Homepage

    After all - existing screens aren't that shiny until they put TruBright(TM) or Ultrabright(TM) or AmazaView(TM) or BlindUView(TM) coating of crap on them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:14AM (#37869090)

    I am typing this from a 13" glossy Macbook Pro, and I think there's a misunderstanding about why people buy glossy screens. The glossy screen is the perfect Apple screen because I can simultaneously see the two most important things in the world: the blog I'm reading, and myself. Always myself.

    • Also the reason for the camera that faces you, when your holding the iPhone properly. Really FaceTime... no one ever uses that. It is made so you can admire yourself actually being on the screen of an iPhone. Its the closest you ever get to iHeaven.

    • Also the blog you're reading is your own blog.

  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:14AM (#37869092) Homepage

    We all know that the perfect monitor screen resembles (or should resemble) a highly polished mirror, and that the viewing of films, games, software or the web is a secondary effect that some people find occasionally useful.

    So with that in mind, how is this technology a step forwards again?

    • Is this a troll? I'm confused. It's a step forward because there's less glare, and no one wants glare in windows.

      • by Xoltri ( 1052470 )
        I think he is commenting on the recent trend of displays moving to glossy screens where in the past this was not a desired feature. In fact, I have found the trend towards glossy screens a step backward as well. Sometimes you end up seeing yourself staring back at you more than what's supposed to be on the screen. Hence the sarcasm about displays evolving to a perfect mirror.
  • by genghisjahn ( 1344927 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:17AM (#37869142) Homepage
    ...and they brought us transparent glass. What's next, non-floating bricks?
  • Why do we need protection screens at all? Can't they make the actual screens hardy enough to survive relatively rough usage?

  • The reason I ask is - is this regular, breakable glass, or can you put some Gorilla Glass on top of it? And if you did, would it then become reflective again? Can this new extra-transparent glass be made extra-hard like Gorilla Glass?

    I think even if it can't, and if you can't put Gorilla Glass on top of it without losing your extra-transparency, I'd still prefer this on my cellphone/tablet. At least that's not a worry on monitors.

  • Even some old CRTs had anti-reflection coatings. That quality of coating is offered for years for good optics. So what is new here, maybe a high quality coating for an affordable price?
  • This sounds interesting - I wonder if these coatings are the same as the coatings that are regularly applied to premium telescope eyepieces and refractor objectives? I know that there are very expensive multilayer coatings that can guarantee 99.9% transmission across the visible wavelengths when applied to an air-glass surface. It's very cool to see a lens with these coatings as from and angle it will be almost black and rotating to face-on it will effectively disappear.

    Is there any idea as to the cost of

    • Very similar, although I think the key is that they've refined to process to get the cost down. Those high-end coated optics are very expensive and easily scratched.

  • When people start using this stuff for windows in buildings, I wonder how the bird population will be affected....

    And if I'm wondering that now, you know PETA will jump on it later. Hmmmm
    -imagines typical naughty imagery they use somehow involving invisible glass this time-
    This might be worth it after all. Kill the birds!!

    • Birds will be better off. They won't see the reflections, thinking there's trees behind the glass. They'll see what's actually behind the glass. Now, if you put a bunch of trees on the other side of the windows...

  • And dogs everywhere cringe at this announcement. I know that my dog will hate me if this ever makes it to consumer windows.

  • News? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pz ( 113803 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @11:59AM (#37869712) Journal

    This isn't news, this is an advertisement.

    1. AR (anti-reflection) coatings [] have been available on photographic lenses for decades. Even the ultra tiny lenses in your iPhone/Blackberry/Android phone have AR coating. AR coatings are *always* nanometers thick, by their very nature.

    2. AR coatings have been available on eyeglass lenses for nearly as long. Most people these days get some sort of AR coating on their lenses.

    3. AR coatings have been available on framing glass to protect valuable paintings, photographs, and other items in picture frames for the same scale of time. Drop by your local framing / art supply store and check out what's usually called museum glass.

    4. AR coatings were used on nearly every CRT by the time sales started to plummet in favor of the LCD. I use a couple of them in my lab to this day.

    5. AR coatings are already available on some laptop screens (eg, by Sony and Samsung, no doubt among others).

    So, news about a new technology ("Solves Screen Reflection Problems")? No. Product announcement? Yes.

    • Re:News? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jay L ( 74152 ) <jay+slash&jay,fm> on Friday October 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#37870276) Homepage

      I have a painting with AR glass. It's a big improvement over regular glass, but it's way, way more reflective than the glass seen in the photo.

      Also note from the WP article you cited:

      It is possible to obtain reflectivities as low as 0.1% at a single wavelength. Coatings that give very low reflectivity over a broad band can also be made, although these are complex and relatively expensive.

      TFA claims broadband 0.5% reflectivity.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Indeed, I have a Samsung with AR.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      1) Everything is nano-meters thick. The quest is, how many. Is this less then the current technology?

      The breakthrough here is it's high durability. I use isn't actually for computers, it's for Solar power; which will hep greatly.
      Of course, this specific breakthrough was announce in 2009. []

      Sure.. Invisible glass was invented in 1938(Katy Blodgrett?) That doesn't mean it can't be improved, nor does it mean that further development isn't worth noting.

      So what

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.