Now is the time for the windows to get smart. Admittedly, I am not talking about any version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It is the new definition of living room windows that let you control the visibility, light wave and heat wave absorption with the help of a knob or a button. You can make your window clear to opaque or vice versa just by throwing a switch.
Have you ever thought of the weird thing that the window screen of your living room can be turned into your personal TV or a monitor? The newest discovery of smart glass is leading us in that way. The British Columbia University Okanagan, research team lead by professor Kenneth Chau have built a smart glass with a metal coating which has increased the transparency of the glass by as much as 10%. So? What’s the fuss? Ok. You got me.
Now, what if I tell you that, it can also be integrated with various electronic devices? Weird. Right? Yap, you heard me right.
Smart Glass — The Smart Thing
This technology uses a metallic layer placed between two layers of glass. The metallic layer is connected with an electric voltage regulator. When the voltage varies the metal particles change their position making the glass opaque or transparent or vice versa. Some popular technologies those are being used in smart glasses are Suspended particle devices, Electrochromic, Thermochromics, Photochromatic and Liquid Crystal Devices etc.
As per various market research the future of smart glass project is uphill. Currently, North America is leading in production and usages of smart glasses in the form of smart doors and windows in infrastructural, transportation and aviation industries. But, in near future European market will take over the pace as infrastructural industries are on the verge of growth.
Description of the New Metallic Glass Project:
Professor Kenneth Chau and his associate Mr. Loic Markley, an engineering professor have described in short what they have made. As per their opinion, previously it has known that glass can be put on metals to make metals more transparent but, nobody has ever tried the reversed formula. He also added that we think metals is opaque and glass is transparent. But, in reality, glass is a crystalline structure and fairly transparent but, not completely. And here is the trick they played.
Mr. Chau and Mr. Markley kept a glass in a vacuum chamber and sprayed silver atoms over it to create a layer of silver on the glass which is as much as few billionth of a meter thick. And this thin layer of silver actually boosts the actual light that goes through the glass, allowing them to pass more light and heat. This invention has changed the entire concept of smart glass technology.
Why is this invention so important?
This discovery is best known for its counter-intuitiveness. Conventional glasses are bad conductors of electricity but this discovery has added the ability to the glass to conduct electricity. And this single property is enough to introduce the glass in the world of electronics.
Future prospect of the project
The possibilities are endless of this smart metallic glass. The primary objective of this project is to add electronic control and use it as a smart glass in doors and windows which can control light and heat absorption from the sun more efficiently and reduce the energy cost of maintaining inner climate. It can also be pre-programmed to absorb specific heat waves and light from the sun on different seasons and different time of day.
The next big deal is on the display industries. Engineers around the world are looking for thin, inexpensive, see through materials that could be used as a display device. This invention meets all these criteria and hence, it has a very bright future in this industry too.
A movie with the evening bath?
Apart from specific light and heat wave absorption, the smart window made from this material might replace your TV in near future. You might watch your favorite game or movie on the giant window of your living room. Though this is my imagination, but it’s not impossible in near future.
The conventional glass will become smarter in near future and the era has already begun. We may expect our home window and doors to absorb and store specific light and heat waves from Sun according to the weather and season to make our home’s inner climate comfortable and reduce the air conditioning bill.
It uses natural resources, hence, it becomes Eco-friendly as well. Those smart windows might also act as a TV or a screen that have computational power. It might change the theme of your room according to your mood and so on. This discovery made these imaginations one step closer to reality.
We usually see numerous innovative scientific models in sci-fi movies and bemoan, oh! if I could owe one of these items. But, we can’t as they have not been innovated yet. However, the pace modern science has picked up in the 21st century, will not let us get deprived of such items for very long. I always feel the ‘addicted to new technology’ tint in our daily workaround and for me, it’s just the surge of Adrenalin I look for.
This article is written by Raj Bhatt. He likes new age technology & socializing online. Follow him: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn.