A research team from William Carey University recently contributed their time and talents to the development of a self-cleaning glass cellphone screen protector.
The screen protector, called e-RACE, is a product of Reactive Surfaces Ltd. The company has offices, research facilities and manufacturing operations at the Accelerator, a business incubator owned by the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Tyler Hodges, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Carey, became involved with the project after meeting officials from the company during work at the Accelerator. Carey later received a $40,000 grant from the company to assist in the development of the screen protector and related products.
To assist in his work, Hodges recruited a team of student interns, including Carey students Allison Burnett, a graduate student in biological sciences from Gulfport; Jessica Posey, a senior biology major from Port Sulphur, Louisiana; Kyle Powell, a senior biology major from Hattiesburg; and Nick Anglin, a sophomore biology major from Ovett. Hodges and his team worked for over a year on the screen protector, which contains an all-natural enzyme designed to break down grease from a cellphone’s daily use.
“The enzyme breaks down oils and creates soap that helps remove fingerprints, oil from skin and other debris, like makeup,” said Hodges.
The Carey team worked on all aspects of the screen protector, from the laboratory science behind the enzyme to assistance with the product’s commercialization and final packaging. The team worked closely with USM’s Thames-Rawlins Research Group in all aspects of the project, as well as with researchers from the Mississippi Polymer Institute.
“It was an opportunity for the students to receive experience in many areas,” said Hodges. “It was also a great opportunity for students to be exposed to science outside of the traditional classroom setting.”
Steve McDaniel, CEO of Reactive Surfaces, said he was pleased to work with Hodges and the team of Carey students.
“Dr. Hodges has contributed significantly to the commercialization and launch of this first product,” said McDaniel. “Reactive Surfaces has also been very pleased with the student interns program, under which it has supported the work of several Carey students to give them hands-on experience in a commercial laboratory setting.”