Switchable smart glass has been around for a while, however the University of Cincinnati, in partnership with Hewlett Packard and Merck Research Labs have developed tuneable window technology.
The patent-pending technology enables occupants to change the brightness, colour and opacity of the windows. The researchers claim this is a low cost solution that can eventually replace traditional mechanical shading or blinds.
The low cost to produce and flexibility of the technology means its application can be much more widespread than existing smart glass solutions. The researchers believe that the solution can even be retrofitted to existing windows and can be incorporated into existing window manfucturing processes.
The researchers took technology that is commonly applied to e-readers and mobile phones and considered how it could be applied to larger format devices.
Jason Heikenfeld, from the University of Cincinatti states “Simple electronic window switching is not enough. You need to provide consumers with something you can’t do mechanically, and for which there is already a large demand. For example, there is already proven demand for control of color temperature in the lightbulb market, and after all, windows are a source of lighting. Maybe even more compelling, go home to your neighborhood and look at the drawn blinds for privacy but which also block sunlight. What if you could have your privacy and also let the light in at any brightness you want?”