Cost Effective Smart Windows To Replace Curtains?

Windows that can change their opacity have been around for a while (see this discussion from a prior article), but the methods are too expensive to outfit entire skyscrapers. Until now.


(Smart windows - not curtains?)

"They are all very effective, although I think ours is even more effective. But the big problem is how you create large areas, windows, and the cost," said Professor David Clarke, a material scientist at Harvard.

The scientists have figured out a method to produce windows that go from clear to cloudy at the flip of a switch in a way that is both cost effective and commercially viable, according to a study they published in the journal Optical Letters.

The team uses elastomer rubber coated with nanowires that adheres to glass to scatter light when voltage is applied.

"When you apply a voltage to them relative to some background there is an attractive force between the nanowires and the substrate that deforms the elastomer," said Clarke. "Elastomer rubber is very soft and so the surface becomes rough, and it is that roughness that scatters light," Clarke added.

Samuel Shian, an author on the study, believes scaling this technology should be commercially viable because the reaction is physical rather than chemical. Current chemical-based controllable windows use vacuum deposition to coat the glass, an expensive process that deposits layers of a material molecule by molecule.

In his 1972 novel The Godmakers, Frank Herbert wrote about special windows that could be clear or opaque with the touch of a button:

Orne returned to his room to change for dinner, stopped at the polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission. The quick darkness of these latitudes had pulled an ebony blanket over the landscape. Distant cityglow painted a short yellow horizon off to the left. An orange halo remained on the peaks where Marak's three moons would rise.
(Read more about Frank Herbert's polawindows)

Via Reuters; thanks to Greg Bear for pointing this item out on Twitter.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/11/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...' - Paul Di Filippo, 1985

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.'

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.