With glass an increasingly popular material for architecture, companies are experimenting with ways to balance its ability to let light in with the need for a little privacy. Glass that tints itself on demand has cropped up in sunglasses and cars, and is beginning to creep into buildings with electrochromic windows. Now, Kinestral has unveiled a new system of smart-tinting glass called Halio, which can be adjusted manually or set up to switch automatically.
Kinestral claims that in its clear state, Halio is indistinguishable from ordinary glass, but when the sun is glaring on the TV or you need to change clothes, it can be tinted to just the right shade of gray. The tint can be manually controlled through a wall-mounted panel, a mobile app, or voice commands, or set to automatically adjust itself in response to triggers like the weather, time of day, or the sun's position.
Rather than choosing between all or nothing, the system allows both groups and individual panes of Halio glass to be tuned to different shades. So, for example, a nosy neighbor to the north can be blocked from peering into your kitchen, while west-facing windows can be left clear to make the most of the setting sun.
Interior glass could also benefit, offering the opportunity to make offices and meeting rooms light and social, with the option for privacy at will.
While Kinestral hasn't revealed the technology behind the Halio glass, it's most likely electrochromic, given the stated time of about five minutes it'll take for a large window pane to turn from completely clear to the darkest shade on the glass spectrum.
Kinestral says that Halio glass will be launched in certain markets next year, although it hasn't specified which regions that includes, or what the price of such a system might be. A global roll-out is planned to follow in 2018.