Could we have a window that change in colour and opacity as we want? That’s the question that some researchers from the University of Cincinnati has asked and also answered. Smart windows may be closer than we could ever think thanks to a really affordable technology.
This new technology can provide thermal properties to your home, privacy when required or a stylish look to your room. The research process has been published in Applied Optics. According to the researchers, the technology is based on the experience in electronics. Similar to e-ink readers, it’s affordable and really easy scalable.
Smart windows possibilities
The possibilities of these smart windows are the next ones:
- Can be adjusted in brightness and colour. This is really similar to what Philips Hue lights can already do. But no window can nowadays.
- Achieve great privacy level but allowing light to go into your home. That solves the big problem of blinds that make your room the darkest place in the world when you need some privacy.
- Great control of opacity and colour. You can change the requirements of your window in winter and summer allowing or not to pass sun radiation.
The next images show different combinations of these properties in a same room:
Smart windows technology
Based on the previous experience of the group of researchers, the main objective was to find an affordable system as the main researcher, Sayantika Mukherjee said:
Basically, one color has one charge. Another color has another charge, and we apply voltage to repel or attract the colors into different positions. The basic technology is not that different from what our group has previously demonstrated before in electronic display devices. The greater challenge was to find an appropriate device structure in order to apply the technology to the larger surface area of a window in a way that was inexpensive and fairly easy.
The internal structure is based on a hexagonal honeycomb organization with a layer of polymer, a set of electrodes, and micro-replicated polymer nubs. The next drawing represents this structure:
In the next video, you can watch the different configurations of the smart windows: