Smear test

Touch screens have become ubiquitous and almost essential for many of us, but long before the touch screen there were grubby fingers and greasy fingerprints. When they collide it leads to a smeary view of our digital world that could spread pathogens between users. Steve block, an electronics industry scientist at Dow Corning who works on coatings for touch screens explains: There's a whole range of things that can contaminate those surfaces, he says. There are natural oils on the fingers as well as the lotions people put their hands. Then there's cosmetics and the times when you hold your telephone up to your ear and it's sweaty. Various research teams are looking at natural non-stick materials, such as the insides of the carnivorous pitcher plant to find smart ways to maintain your touch screen's pristine, out of the box, smoothness.