CES® 2017 | The Glass Age | Corning

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CES® 2017

Making Magic

Inspired by “A Day Made of Glass,” young innovator brings new technology to life

Of the millions of people who were happy they saw Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” video in 2011, Dave Krawczyk may be among the happiest.

Krawczyk was a junior at Illinois State University and already believed passionately that technology should make people’s daily lives better.

Moreover, he believed people shouldn’t have to think about how to access that technology. It should simply exist in their everyday environment, ready to be helpful the moment it’s needed – and, in the words of futurist Arthur C. Clarke, be “indistinguishable from magic.”

When Krawczyk clicked on the YouTube link that a Facebook friend had passed along, he was mesmerized -- and inspired.

“Glass is very much a part of our story.”

- Dave Krawczyk, CEO and Co-Founder, Glance Displays, Inc.

“It showed technology integrated so completely into our daily lives, but not being obvious,” he said.  “It was exactly what I believed technology should be. You don’t have to think about where it comes from or how to get it. It’s just there for you, on the surfaces that surround you every day.

“It’s almost as though our environment interacts with us, rather than us having to interact with our environment.”

One scene seemed to speak directly to Dave and his imagination: “Jennifer” planning her morning schedule through an email display on her bathroom mirror.

“I knew then what I wanted to create,” he said. “I just didn’t know how to build it.”

Dave earned his degree in information systems from ISU in 2012 and immersed himself in the world of software development for entrepreneurial businesses. He kept creating. He was even a finalist on a televised inventors’ competition for his percussion-sensor technology. (He won some cash but lost out to an interactive toothbrush.)

By early 2016 – still following his vision inspired by Corning’s video – he and a handful of colleagues got the backing to launch Glance Displays.

Their first product, on exhibit at CES® 2017, is a mirror backed by a high-contrast display. The surfaces are carefully manipulated to let some light through, while still obscuring the workings of the technology. Voice authentication and commands let the user view information relevant to their day – weather, email, scheduling information, even commute time.

“It looks just like it’s coming to you magically,” he said. “We wanted it to be just as fluid and interactive as the one in the video that inspired it. Although in our case, you don’t even have to touch the mirror.”

Creative young innovators like Krawczyk were one audience segment Corning hoped to inspire with the release of “A Day Made of Glass.”

“When we released the first video in 2011, we wanted to share a compelling picture of how glass surfaces could have much more than one-dimensional utility,” said Lisa Burns, Director, Corporate Marketing & Branding for Corning, who managed the video project.

“Instead, we wanted people to see that advanced glass could enable sophisticated environments no one had ever seen before.”

“We wanted to inspire other innovators to consider the phenomenal properties of glass and apply the material in their designs, thereby creating future business opportunities for Corning,” she added.

“We’re delighted to see that our message connected with so many people, and it’s truly exciting to see an instance where that broader vision is coming to life.”

Meanwhile, Krawczyk and his team – including fellow Glance Displays leaders Kevin McQuown, Michael Thies, and Vik Denic --are targeting upscale housing builders in Chicago with their early products. And they’re intrigued with other applications using interactive glass surfaces, too.

“Glass,” he said, “is very much a part of our story.”