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OCE gives thumbs-up to funds for touchscreen coating


March 28, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is investing $200,000 in a Queen’s University innovation that could soon make smudgey touchscreens a thing of the past.

OCE’s investment will help Queen’s and its industry partner, Lorama Inc., accelerate commercialization of the so-called “smart” coating technology discovered by Queen’s chemists Dr. Guojun Liu and Dean Xiong.

“We’re excited to partner with Queen’s and Lorama to support this fantastic product,” said OCE president and CEO Dr. Tom Corr in a statement. “With literally hundreds of millions of touchscreen devices being used daily, breakthrough technology that would make for a cleaner screen presents a huge business opportunity and would be an incredible showcase of a made-in-Ontario innovation that will create jobs and boost the local economy.”

OCE’s award was made through its Collaborative Research program which spurs innovation by promoting research partnerships (of up to two years) between industry and academia. These collaborations develop commercially viable technologies which can also result in new revenues and high-value jobs for Ontario. OCE previously invested $25,000 in this project through its Technical Problem Solving program.

“Ontario is home to some of the best researchers in the world. The work that they are doing today will bring the jobs of tomorrow,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation. “I’m proud that through OCE, we are able to bridge the commercialization gap and connect them with industry to turn their research into game-changing products like this smart coating.”

The coating has shown promise in repelling undesired water- and oil-based deposits from a wide range of surfaces, including glass, metals, wood, ceramics, plastics, fabrics, fibres, and paper. It is being looked at for numerous applications including making walls graffiti-proof, making ship hulls resistant to marine organisms and as an anti-icing and anti-fogging agent.

“This super-amphiphobic technology is exciting because it has the potential to address a wide variety of industrial issues, while also benefiting the environment,” said Lucy Su, commercial development manager at PARTEQ Innovations, the technology transfer office at Queen’s.

Lorama Inc., a leading Canadian manufacturer and supplier of novel additives to the paint and coatings industry, is working with the Queen’s researchers to commercialize the technology.

“Lorama considers industry-academic collaborations vital in its drive to provide innovative products to the paint and coatings industry,” said Alison Crumblehulme, director of business development at Lorama. “Such collaborations facilitate Lorama’s interaction with world-class Canadian researchers, allowing Lorama to tap into ground-breaking technologies stemming from our university campuses.”