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Scientists Solve Smartphone Glare by Imitating the Eyes of Moths

I can’t stand trying to use my phone in direct sunlight. It drives me crazy

BY JAKE PETERSON

I can’t stand trying to use my phone in direct sunlight. It drives me crazy — I just want to get through a game of Sonic, but I can’t see where I’m going. No one has it harder than I do. But my troubles might soon be over, as researchers are developing anti-glare films for smartphones, based off of the eyes of moths. Weird.

NBC Mach reports that researchers have discovered a way to reduce glare on smartphone displays by mimicking the structure of the eyes of moths. Moths have what’s called “nanoscale structures” in their eyes. These structures help to reduce reflections caused by light, which in turn allows them to see better by minimizing any glare.

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Researchers at the University of Central Florida recently published a paper on the antireflection film they’ve been able to make from this design, specifically for smartphone displays. How lucky are we?

Imagine being able to imprint a moth’s eye onto your smartphone display. Well, that’s kind of what’s happening here, except they’re producing the “eye” material first. Here’s how NBC Mach describes the process:

They first deposit a solution with nanoscale silicon oxide spheres onto a surface. The nanospheres are only about 100 nanometers across, or almost one-thousandth the width of a human hair. Then, they spin the surface to spread out the nanospheres — the faster the spin, the farther apart the particles. The surface is then dried with the now embedded tiny spheres, and used as a stamp to imprint tiny dimples onto the final product, creating the nanoscale structure that mimics what moths have on the surface of their eyes.

— NBC Mach

This technology is not necessarily new — it’s just expensive. Phillips has produced a TV using the material, but buying one sets you back $3,000. Yikes.

There’s more. Apparently, as it stands now, the film is incredibly prone to stains. That might not be a huge deal for something like a TV — just don’t let your kids near it — but would be disastrous for a smartphone. How many times a day do you touch your smartphone’s display? That thing would stain like no one’s business.

While the technology might not be ready to go quite yet, it’s exciting stuff. I know I can’t wait to not fight the sun when it comes to my outdoor phone use.

Yeah, that’s just what I need. More time on my phone.

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