Smart windows

  • Goggles, glasses and windshield can fog up if there’s a difference in temperature or humidity. Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new anti-fog coating that warms up the surface without needing electricity.
  • As stuffy offices get even more stuffy in a hot summer, aircon units will very likely be switched on. But aircons use a lot of power. Engineers have created a see-through coating for windows that's reported to reflect up to 70 percent of heat coming in from the sun.
  • Aerogels are among the best thermal insulators, but their cloudy appearance doesn't work for windows, one of the worst offenders for letting heat escape a building. Now, researchers at Colorado University Boulder have found a way to make them transparent, recycling a beer by-product in the process.
  • Windows let light, warmth and a view into rooms, but we don’t always want all three of those at once. That’s why researchers in Switzerland are developing a relatively simple method to smarten up windows by embedding tiny mini-mirrors in them and keep rooms comfortable all year round.
  • Sometimes there’s nothing like a nice breeze from an open window, but in the city that can come with an unwanted side order of street noise. Inspired by noise-canceling headphones, researchers at NTU Singapore have developed a window-based system that can actively cut noise coming from outside.
  • Taking in stunning views on a road trip can make the hours of travel worth the effort. But if you're a blind passenger, such joys are not available to you. Ford Italia is hoping to change that with a prototype window that allows blind passengers to experience views from a car window using touch.
  • Curtains or blinds might eventually get the flick in favor of smart windows. Now a team of engineers has demonstrated a new design. Dubbed Large-Area Fluidic Windows (LaWin), the system uses iron particles suspended in liquid to block sunlight at different levels, and harvest its heat energy.
  • With blinds in front of our windows, we usually have to choose between light and privacy, but “smart glass" can toggle its opacity as needed. Now a University of Pittsburgh team has developed a new type of glass that can switch between hazy and clear in seconds – just add water.
  • Science
    ​Although you may not have encountered any yourself just yet, there are now "smart" windows that can electronically go back and forth between clear and tinted states. An experimental new type of smart window from Stanford University is claimed to address some of their shortcomings.
  • Future windows could change their tint or opacity on demand to keep out unwanted heat, light or nosy neighbors. A team from Princeton has now developed a self-powered “smart window” system that uses a transparent solar cell to harvest UV energy from sunlight.
  • A new material combines high transparency with high electrical conductivity for the first time, holding promise for more efficient solar panels, self-heating smart windows, high-performance cooling surfaces, and even flexible displays.
  • A revolutionary new type of smart window could cut window-cleaning costs in tall buildings while reducing heating bills and boosting worker productivity. Partially inspired by the reflective properties of moth eyes, this smart window is said to be self-cleaning, energy-saving, and anti-glare.