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 ")

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

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

 

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

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

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.