Sunday 28th February, 2021
Technology prevailed this month as NASA’s Perseverance Rover touched down on Mars. This remarkable moment illustrates how far space science has advanced since the first satellite orbited the earth in 1957. By comparison, smart glass technology is in its infancy.
Since its emergence in the early 2000s, the use of smart glass has soared across multiple industries, such as construction and interior design. With continued technological advancements, the future of smart glass promises to be stratospheric.
Smart glass, also known as privacy glass or switchable glass, uses active technologies, principally electrical charge, to block some or all wavelengths of light to change the appearance of glass from transparent to translucent.
Smart glass is a laminated glass. The laminated material used between sheets of clear glass is a liquid crystal film (LCD) sandwiched between at least two plastic interlays. Without an electrical charge the liquid crystals are scattered, with the glass appearing as opaque. When power is applied the liquid crystals align and the glass appears clear.
Smart glass technology can be applied to control light, heat and privacy in residential, commercial and institutional settings, such as hospitals. When smart glass is fitted in place of normal glass in windows, glass doors and glass partitions, it affords better control of sunlight and the correlating management of indoor temperatures, This can lead to less reliance on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and result in lower energy costs and reduced carbon footprint.
Smart glass is durable, low maintenance and more hygienic than more traditional methods of light control, for example, curtains and blinds. These qualities are beneficial in many settings, none more so than in hospitals and other healthcare environments.
Smart glass, like all glass, also offers a modern and stylish design aesthetic. Recent building trends favour large, floor-to-ceiling glass windows over traditional brick and mortar walls. There are also many interior design applications for smart glass – from smart glass conference rooms in offices to smart glass shower enclosures in hotels.