Scientists and materials engineers have been working with “smart” glass for awhile. Smart glass can change its opacity, usually when an electric current is applied to particles embedded in the glass. Photochromic glasses can tint when they detect UV light. Kinestral, a startup based in Hayward, CA, has developed a new type of electrochromic glass that can change opacity either on demand or automatically, based on conditions or programming.
According to the company, the new glass is virtually indistinguishable from regular glass when it is in its untinted state. Halio glass can be tinted manually, using a wall-mounted control panel. It also responds to voice commands and requests from a smartphone app. In addition, the glass is “programmable.” It can respond to a preset program from the control pad, or it can be programmed to respond to conditions including weather changes, the time of day, or the presence of sunlight.
That’s not Halio’s only set of tricks. Individual panes of glass can be controlled separately, meaning that one panel, or a group of panels can be tinted, while others appear perfectly clear. In addition, users can select the depth of shading that each window achieves. The glass can also be used for entirely interior applications to provide privacy or shading for offices, meeting rooms and conference rooms.
The shading effect isn’t instantaneous. It takes about five minutes for the glass to change from its lightest to darkest shading. Kinestral hasn’t yet put Halio on the market; the glass will be available for purchase in certain regions starting in 2017. The company has not yet said where the product roll-out will start, but it intends to make the glass available globally in 2018.
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Photo Credit: seier + seier, via Flickr.com