Sean Meehan, LEED AP, ADMG
I recently had to move an old 37” cathode-ray tube television set down a couple flights of stairs, and my back is still recovering. Fortunately, glazing and glass display technologies have made incredible advancements in recent years, and will likely feature heavily (but weigh less) in the built environment of the future.
I keep encountering electrochromic glazing in hotels, allowing users to control the privacy or shading function of their glazing with the flip of a switch. While ‘smart window’ technology has been around for some time, the low quality and high price of the technology has generally precluded its widespread use. But as the technology has matured and energy costs have risen, the incentive to make glazing do more for the building is finally becoming persuasive.
Even more innovative ideas appear to be on the horizon. Smart glazing will likely be advanced so that it won’t just block the sun, but will incorporate solar panels to harness electricity and offset energy costs. Another potential application is the addition of OLED lighting into glazing, allowing it to serve as a window during the day, and a light fixture at night. Add in possible uses in the transportation sector – automotive, public transportation and aircraft glazing, and the opportunities appear to be endless.
The one application where we have all experienced recent advancements in glass technology is the touchscreen. This application in our computing and smartphone devices has revolutionized the efficiency and simplicity of these devices, and touchscreen technologies may have a myriad of uses in the future. Check out this recent, rather corny video from Corning (pun intended), showing some of the possibilities for the future: