Categories: News

Block Out Your Windows With a Press of a Button

We’ve all seen it in the movies when a character walks into their office for a private phone call and the city is glaring at them through their windows. A button press later and the windows are suddenly opaque, blocking out light and vision. While technologies have existed to do this, they’ve often been slow, costly and requires a large amount of energy. MIT hope to have addressed some of those concerns with their new changing windows.

While other techniques take a few minutes to change from clear to opaque, MIT’s new technique doesn’t even need the constant flow of voltage to remain in one state, it only needs a short burst when its switching colours. The device uses sponge-like materials to conduct the electrons and ions required to give it the colour changing properties, using both red and green to create a colour that is very nearly black.

While MIT professor Mircea Dincă is confident that the technique could lead to “pretty significant energy savings” when it comes to air conditioning, thanks to the ability to “just flip a switch when the sun shines through the window, and turn it dark”, the alternative uses of this technique are equally as interesting. Dincă believes that they could also create low-power smart displays, such as the e-ink displays used by Kindles on a wider range of devices.

With only a lab demo working at the moment, the next step is to create a practical device to demonstrate the technique as a commercial viability.

Gareth Andrews

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