During March I had the opportunity to attend my first travel blogging conference at the Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Boston. The 2.5 day conference was jam-packed with numerous seminars and sessions on anything from press trips to blog design to how to get birth control pills in a foreign country. I had a great time at the conference and came away with lots of new friends, ways to improve my writing and grow my blog, and great connections with the sponsors and tourism boards.
As a natural introvert, I made a goal to get out of my comfort zone and network with the other conference attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. Prior to my bus embarking from Portland to Boston, I spent some time reviewing the attendee and sponsor list to see if I recognized any names. I was quickly able to see a few of my favorite bloggers would be in attendance and speaking. There was also over 180 names I didn’t even know so I knew I had my work cut out for me that weekend.
The sponsor list was a little surprising to me. There were many companies that made sense as sponsors and partners, such as Samsonite, Hostelling International, and Delsey. One company that I wasn’t expecting to be on the list of sponsors was Corning Gorilla Glass. In my previous life working in the biotechnology industry, I used Corning products on a daily basis. You have no idea how many of their bottles with the classic orange caps I have washed over the years! Seeing their name on a sponsor list for a travel conference left me wondering what their connection to the travel industry is and soon enough I was about to find out.
Corning sponsored the delicious and healthy plated lunch on Saturday of the conference. While over 200 woman happily munched away on cucumber-wrapped salads and baked chicken and rice, Lisa Noni, a Senior Development Scientist at Corning Incorporated, got up to the podium and answered my question. Corning manufactures a product called Corning Gorilla Glass. Gorilla Glass can be found in a wide variety of products, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. All of which are electronics that we use on a daily basis and often travel with us in planes, trains, and automobiles.
Have you ever tried to stuff your carry-on backpack into the overhead of a small jet? How about kicking your laptop bag under the seat of an over-packed chicken bus in Southeast Asia or Central America? Traveling can be rough on electronics. Corning’s latest product, Gorilla Glass 4, is built with travelers in mind.
During lunch, Dr. Noni presented a few slides about travel through the eyes of Corning scientists. She showed us several beautiful photographs of the Great Wall of China, Boston’s Beacon Hill, and the Taj Mahal. Most travelers like myself see the beautiful architecture, the centuries of history, and the colorful culture of the local people, but in Corning’s eyes they see potential hazards to electronic devices. Prior to 2007 most cellphones and other electronic devices used plastic screens that scratched easily. So in 2007, Corning scientists began to research and innovate a new product that would meet the demands of the real world both around the world and at home.
Have you ever dropped your phone and the screen cracked? Did you have to go to the mall kiosk and pay some random guy to fix your precious phone that contains your life? Not fun, huh? Through Corning’s rigorous research and consumer feedback, Corning found that damage caused by sharp contact and breakage from drops on rough surfaces accounted for over 70% of field failures and is the top consumer complaint. Scientists went to work in the lab and created Gorilla Glass 4, which delivers significant improvements in drop performance.
Gorilla Glass 4 is the toughest cover glass yet. It performs up to 2x better than competitive glass designs in devices dropped from three feet high. In laboratory tests, Gorilla Glass 4 survives up to 80% of the time when dropped from three feet high. Corning uses a proprietary fusion manufacturing process in all its glass products, including Corning Gorilla Glass. The process begins when raw materials are blended into a glass composition and then fed through an “isopipe” trough until the glass flows evenly over both sides. The molten glass then fuses at the bottom and forms a continuous sheet of very thin glass. However, Corning doesn’t stop there! Corning Gorilla Glass undergoes an ion-exchange process that provides additional chemical strengthening creating a surface that is more resistant to damage.
As any scientist would do, Noni showed us how tough the Gorilla Glass 4 is with two demonstrations. In the first demonstration she simulated how the Gorilla Glass 4 would perform in our backpacks. She placed one sample of the Gorilla Glass 4 and one sample of soda lime glass (the glass commonly used in windows and about 40% of all the smartphones in China) as a control into a tumbler along with a wallet, keys, hairbrush, guidebook, and sunglasses. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to wait out the experiment, Noni pulled out several pre-damaged glass samples to conduct a press test with a mini lever press machine. The soda lime glass sample was placed in the machine and Noni pressed the lever. The meter rose to about 25 pounds before we heard the crunch sound. This means that it only take about 20-30 pounds of weight presses down on your smartphone to cause the glass to break. In the real world, imagine accidently throwing your 40 pound backpack on top of your smartphone. Yeah, not good! Then we tested the Gorilla Glass 4 sample. We watched in awe as the pressure gauge kept climbing higher until we finally saw a little damage over 120 pounds. Incredible!
For the second demonstration Noni asked for a volunteer. The volunteer was asked to take sandpaper and scratch the surface of both a sample of Gorilla Glass 4 and soda lime glass. The volunteer was then asked to break the glass with a metal punch device. The soda lime glass sample broke without much effort, but the Gorilla Glass 4 didn’t break at all!
These short demonstrations made me think about my own electronic devices. I’m famous for throwing stuff into my big purse and then my purse gets thrown around and all jumbled up. I’ve ruined very expensive sunglasses this way. Corning has a website where you can check to see if any of your devices use Gorilla Glass and I was excited to see that my Moto X smartphone uses Gorilla Glass! No wonder my phone is not completely destroyed after all the times I’ve thrown it into my purse or backpack while traveling.
I always travel with my electronic devices as they are very important in capturing the stories and memories of my travels as a travel blogger. As much as I love my fancy DSLR camera, I do rely on my smartphone for many photos that I can’t snap with my big camera. I would be completely devastated and lost if something happened to my smartphone while I was at home or on the road. Luckily, Corning has been working for years to help give me piece of mind so I can continue to enjoy myself and forget about the potential hazards that are all around me.
This blog post was sponsored by Corning Incorporated. I received compensation in exchange for writing this review, but all opinions are completely my own.