The growth in popularity of touchscreen devices -- everything from tablet computers to mobile gaming devices, interactive television screens and smartphones -- has created a new annoyance.
Every time we use our fingers to operate one of these devices, we inevitably leave a nasty little smear of grease across the screen.
But Japanese materials manufacturer Toray Industries, Inc. has devised a coating technology that means we will not constantly be trying to scrub oily marks off our blurred screens.
The Tokyo-based firm has come up with an anti-adhesive film that incorporates "nano-bumps" onto its surface that have no impact on the transparency or gloss of the film.
Other firms are working on similar systems, with US accessories manufacturer Tarqus recently launching a series of fingerprint-resistant screen protectors for mobile phones. But Toray claims its invention is more resistant to greasy finger marks.
"Dirt from fingerprints is difficult to evaluate because its appearance and degree of adhesion vary depending on the environment and difference in the material, so it has become necessary to create this technology," Toray said in a statement.
The new coating has been designed to have high oil-repellency and allows less than 50 percent of the oil and grease that collect on conventional screens to build up, while the randomly wrinkled nanometer structure makes any oil that does adhere to the screen less visible to the user.
Previous systems had only employed one of the two solutions, Toray said.
Tarqus is selling its scratchproof and oil-resistant film as an application that can be added to a device, but its Japanese rival is aiming to work with the manufacturers of touchscreen devices and have the system built into a new generation of screens. Another advantage of this, the company said, would be that it avoids the possibility of bubbles of
air or particles of dirt that are already on the screen being trapped beneath the film.