THE HUMBLE WINDOW has always been iconic, a go-to design differentiator for architects and an important feature for homeowners. With the increase in the number of ‘smart homes' now popping up, their features may soon even include the ability for self-clea
The term ‘smart home' conjures up images of modern architectural masterpieces of the future, complete with robot butlers and a customisable home environment that automatically adapts based on conditions like air quality, temperature and occupier preferences.
It might seem a far-off vision of the future, but it's not. The trend of home automation continues to unveil new and awe-inspiring technologies on a daily basis – and our windows are no exception.
We already have access to gadgets, apps and devices that can be integrated with windows to ensure home safety and alert us if a window is ajar. And there are motorised window coverings and electric openers that allow us to remotely control window treatments from across the room, country or even the globe.
But now window technology is going a step further. ‘Smart windows' are here, with glass that adapts to changing conditions either automatically or with the flick of a switch. Electrochromic windows change tint on demand, from completely transparent to opaque with the touch of a button. Liquid crystal windows use electric currents to switch between clear and translucent. Thermochromic windows also adjust for tint and opacity, with changes driven by temperature. And photochromic windows alter their tint based on the level of brightness. Yes, these innovations make for a more comfortable environment for us – but the energy efficiency benefits are also obvious.
Taking a step further, there's even the potential for windows to be used for communication. Imagine being able to see directly into a friend's living room as you video chat with them – the image projected directly onto your own living room window. With both screen and glass technologies advancing so rapidly, this is really not so far-fetched.
But does any of this solve the problem of how to say goodbye to the chore of window cleaning? The good news is that this wish can be a reality – self-cleaning windows are already available!