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The glass of the future is smart

Windows with automatic sun protection and connected functionality; this may soon be our reality. "This is an exciting project. The end result will be a multifunctional window that we can test, demonstrate and commercialise,” says Jerry Eriksson, project manager at RISE.

Our lives are becoming more and more connected – if not to the internet, then to something else. At RISE, the foremost experts in the field of glass are working with the industry to identify new functions and areas of use.

“We examine how we can add functionality to glass,” explains Jerry Eriksson.

Electrochromic glass can alter transparency

One of the cornerstones of the project Smart Multifunctional Glass is electrochromic glass. Smart glass manufacturer ChromoGenics already has proprietary glass technology that can alter transparency, reducing solar heating of indoor environments and thereby reducing the energy consumption of buildings.

The goal of the project is to develop a holistic solution that can be adapted to various customer needs and is ready for integration in building automation and other systems.

This is however only the beginning; the project combines knowledge from a range of disciplines. A number of functions have already been developed that are ready for commercialisation and the project will explore whether these can be combined to achieve even better results.

“What can we add to a pane of glass with a conductive layer? Can solar cells be used to power functionality? Can functions be added that are suited to smart homes? Can it be connected to the Internet of Things? Can we add interactive touch functionality? Or different types of information sensors?” These are just some of the possibilities raised by Jerry Eriksson.

Large demands are placed on windows in terms of sustainability and insulation, not to mention the fact that they are expected to have a working life of 20 to 30 years, if not longer.

Project in startup phase

The project, which is currently in the startup phase, is managed by RISE, which is also overseeing the various work packets. It is already apparent that the work is offering positive effects for industry, as expertise and needs are brought together.

“The project is the continuation of a feasibility study and we can already see that it has created collaborations between manufacturers, developers and clients. This is part of what makes the project so exciting; the makeup of the project group is exactly as one would wish, with research competence combined with private-sector partners who all contribute their own specialist knowledge.