On the Horizon

Cutting-edge glass
The greatest advancements in windows in the coming years will be in the glazing. In the works: windows that do double duty as TV screens, touch-screen monitors, and speakers for home theaters. But here's a list of high-tech glass already on the market that does a lot more than just let light through.

  • Radiant: Heat-producing glass makes even window-filled sunrooms cozy on winter nights. Already popular in Europe and now available here.
  • Self-cleaning: Embedded titanium dioxide dissolves surface dirt when exposed to the sun's UV rays. Rain washes dirt away, reducing the need for manual cleanings by half.
  • Switchable: A layer of liquid crystals sandwiched between glass sheets switches instantly from clear to opaque when low-voltage current is applied.
  • Darkening: Electrochromic technology slowly darkens glass at the touch of a button to control glare, reduce solar heat gain, and protect interiors from UV, but not enough for complete privacy.

High-tech glass options
Photo: Courtesy Research Frontiers, Inc.
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