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General Motors patents self-cleaning technology for touch screens

General Motors has filed a patent for the technology of passive cleaning of various screens using ultraviolet light. It is designed for automotive dashboards, but with some modifications it can be used almost anywhere. First of all, in touch displays, which quickly get dirty due to the touch of dirty and greasy fingers.


The principle of operation is based on the use of titanium dioxide, which, when irradiated with ultraviolet light, changes its properties – it turns from a hydrophobic material into a hydrophilic one. This not only allows moisture to accumulate on its surface, but also triggers a series of chemical reactions in it that generate a lot of free radicals. Those, in turn, destroy cell walls, DNA and cytoplasm, destroying fungi, microbes and bacteria.

Such a screen has two modes of operation: in one it attracts water, which destroys organic debris, and in the other it repels it, allowing it to carry away the remaining dirt with it. The General Motors patent describes a special display design, where, in addition to the three basic pixels, a fourth is added – it emits ultraviolet invisible to the human eye. Turning this light on alternately will allow the screen to self-clean.

However, the technology has another, simpler version. In it, the same titanium dioxide coating is applied to the screen of a laptop or tablet, and a UV lamp is installed nearby. It can be turned on in those moments when the gadget is not in demand, so that it is cleaned. Since no visible light is emitted, it is best to set the automation to start cleaning at night .

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