New Glass Technology Brings Us One Step Closer to Smart Windows

Friday, 12 February 2016 - 4:05PM
Gadgets
Friday, 12 February 2016 - 4:05PM
New Glass Technology Brings Us One Step Closer to Smart Windows
Could we soon have windows that double as TVs, computer screens, or digital assistants? With smart mirrors already becoming a reality, smart windows can't be too far away, and now a new study from the University of British Columbia just brought us one step closer to that future.

According to the new study, researchers have found a way to coat glass with extremely thin layers of metal, such as silver, so that light can still shine through. Remarkably enough, the technique not only allows for transparency, it actually enhances it, allowing more light to shine through than before.

Opening quote
"It's been known for quite a while that you could put glass on metal to make metal more transparent, but people have never put metal on top of glass to make glass more transparent," said Loïc Markley, an assistant professor of engineering at UBC. "It's counter-intuitive to think that metal could be used to enhance light transmission, but we saw that this was actually possible, and our experiments are the first to prove it."
Closing quote

The researchers believe that this technology could pave the way towards bona fide smart windows. While Iron Man-esque glass tablets may be far away yet, their next steps involve making glass that can automatically filter light and heat, depending on the season or time of day, which could be a boon for environmentalism as well as convenience. 

Opening quote
"Engineers are constantly trying to expand the scope of materials that they can use for display technologies, and having thin, inexpensive, see-through components that conduct electricity will be huge," said UBC Associate Professor and lead investigator Kenneth Chau. "I think one of the most important implications of this research is the potential to integrate electronic capabilities into windows and make them smart."
Closing quote

Via Science Daily.
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