A new invention may revolutionise smartphone and tablet displays by offering bulletproof glass that won't crack or shatter.

The development has been the result of ten years of work by the US Navy to create a transparent material stronger than bulletproof glass. The result, called Spinel, uses a synthetic powdered clay to offer a translucent material like glass.

Spinel can be manipulated to form any shape suggesting it'll even work on curved displays. The material doesn't block any infrared wavelengths of light meaning it will allow bright, colourful displays to work behind its protective layer. It can also be used as a more robust lens for cameras.

Dr Jas Sanghera, who led the research said: "The advantage is it's so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments - so it can withstand sand and rain erosion."

Initially the production of Spinel will be for military use, on camera lenses of drones, armour of vehicles and satellites. But it could, potentially, be used on smartphones and tablets for consumers. As with any scientific development it may take a while to reach production so we're not expecting it to arrive soon.

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