Smart Windows Gives You Privacy And Sunshine At The Same Time

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There are numerous benefits to having your windows tinted, both economical and environmental.  These window films block heat from the sun and decrease glare.  By reducing the amount of heat penetrating through the windows, the rooms stay cool.  Privacy is another issue that is resolved by window tinting.  What if we told you that you could turn up the opacity for a bit of privacy without compromising on brightness?  Well, it’s happening……it’s a new tunable window tinting technology.

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If we could manage how much light comes pouring into a room, we could eventually lessen our reliance on air conditioning units.  Scientists from the University of Cincinnati (UC) teamed up with researchers from Hewlett Packard, Merck and National Taiwan University to develop the tunable windows.  There have been many kinds of smart glass in the past, but this new tunable window tinting technology claims to do what previous smart glass’ could not, allow users to have control over the brightness, color temperature and opacity.

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The best part of this technology is that it could scale to cover entire window panes without being over-expensive.  Researchers have been developing the technology for three years now, and the final patent design is claimed to be cheap to manufacture.  Two glass substrates enclose a layer of polymer, a set of electrodes, and micro-replicated polymer nubs.  This results in a honeycomb pattern coating that can be integrated into new windows or even rolled onto existing ones.  “Basically, one color has one charge,” explains UC’s Sayantika Mukherjee, who led the research.  Another color has another charge, and we apply voltage to repet or attract the colors into different positions.  The basic technology is not that different from what our group has previously demonstrated before in electronic display devices.”

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Researchers say there are many possibilities with the tunable window tints.  You could increase the opacity for privacy, or let the sun shine nice and warm into your open space.  Scientists claim that even when the windows are turned milky for privacy, they will still be able to allow 90% of natural light get through.  Ultimately the goal of this technology is to replace conventional shades and blinds altogether.  Hopefully the tunable window tints will be able to keep house cool in the summer months and warm and toasty for the winter.