Smart windows have been around for years. They are (almost) excellent in offering privacy and comfort to people who wish to switch their windows between clear and opaque state.
Different technologies exist with different features, such as electrochromic and Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC). They have slight weaknesses such as having a tinted shade or haziness in the clear state, slow switching, and not very good viewing angle. A bigger problem for the latter is constant energy consumption. What is common to them both is high cost, which has prohibited a wider uptake.
A UK University spinout is testing new technology that promises to solve all the said problems and do this at a lower cost. This in turn will be of interest from an architectural angle. The new technology blocks infra-red (tests to measure it accurately will start shortly). Fully automated solutions become possible at a reasonable cost to regulate the vast glass areas and facades in modern cities, saving on both heating and cooling.
The picture shows a tiled demonstrator with the new technology.
It can cover the whole area, or be deposited in pixels of size and shape of interest. The opacity is continually variable from transparent to opaque and the opaque state can be coloured . The sheet can then be bent or laminated into glass.
In clear state, it is clearer than the other smart windows on the market (see further pictures below). Energy is consumed whilst switching but not in the steady states.
The company seeks technical cooperation with manufacturers in sectors such as car and aeroplane windows, glass refrigerators, display cabinets, interior design, building glazing. Upon successful projects, the technology will be licensed to the manufacturers.