The self-cleaning, glare-free glass that doesn't fog up

A new wonder material would keep eyeglasses from fogging up, create self-cleaning windows, and make tablets readable outdoors

A new glass created by MIT scientists could change the way we use a number of products from glasses to iPads.
(Image credit: Courtesy Shutterstock)

The video: As anyone who has ever whipped out an iPad poolside can attest, the glare-prone displays of shiny gadgets can make them incredibly hard to use outdoors. Those days of straining your eyes or posing awkwardly to see your tablet screen better seem to be coming to an end: MIT researchers have unveiled a new technique that "virtually eliminates reflections, producing glass that is almost unrecognizable because of its absence of glare." The team released a video of the new wonder glass, which doesn't fog up, easily repels water, and can rid itself of dust and lint. (Watch below.) The groundbreaking technology works using microscopic, cone-shaped grooves measuring in the nanometers, which, while indistinguishable to the human eye, give the glass its near-magical properties. The researchers say the technique could easily be reproduced en masse to be applied to any number of everyday objects: Eyeglasses, cameras, TV sets, windows, and countless other possibilities.

The reaction: It's nice to know that it's not just me who spends half my time "with lint-free cloth in hand," says James Trew at Engadget. The self-cleaning properties of the glass are wonderful, says Damon Poeter at PC Mag. The team has applied for a patent, but such technology needs to be added to smartphones "immediately." The technology also transcends mere gadget vanity; solar panels, for instance, "lose efficiency through residual surface build up." This glass could give panels a longer life. That all sounds fine, says James Plafke at Geekosystem, but a lot of our wide-eyed fascination assumes "the cost of production can be lowered to a consumer level." That just might not be the case. Take a look:

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