January 22, 2018


Are you confused?Secure Glass Men At Work

Smart glass, electric glass, heated glass, energy efficient glass, tinted glass, toughened glass, tempered glass, insulated glass units, double glazed units, privacy glass, switchable glass, glass sliders (when did a sliding glass door stop being a window?), patterned glass, art glass, skylights . . . But who talks about WINDOWS anymore?

We seem to be losing the usage – let alone the true meaning of the word. Most people today are more likely to immediately connect the word to a popular computer operating system. Or the more romantic will connect it to the phrase ‘window to the soul, or heart’. Those who are busy would more likely reflect upon ‘a window of opportunity’. You see, a window is basically a hole in a wall. And because we can see through that hole, see beyond it, we ignore its significance and nomenclature. We look out, or through, and ignore the fact that there is a specifically constructed frame – perhaps made from wood, aluminium or even UPVC (Un-plasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride), and that frame holds a pane of glass over the hole. Even a ‘skylight’ is but a framed window in a roof – another hole.

Windows did not always hold glass however. If we go back far enough, the derivation of the word ‘window’ described only a hole in a wall to let air in or smoke out, and it would be shuttered in inclement weather. It was the Romans who first started putting glass in these holes to keep the weather out. We do have a lot to thank the Romans for, and for more than just glass, of course. But it was a rough glass they had used, and not all that transparent.

The improvements in the clarity of glass over the centuries brought with it a new set of problems however. Privacy was threatened – if you can look out with clarity, others can look in with equal clarity. This instigated another development – shutters. Shutters are still widely used in houses all around the Mediterranean today, but in the more northern climes they chose to develop something more easily pulled aside: drapes and curtains. This spawned a whole fashion industry which exists to this day and has maintained its popularity in most of the former British colonies (including, and especially, Australia). Next, came the development of blinds; another big industry that is growing even as I write.Today, however, technology has given us such vast improvements and innovations that we have panes of glass that are in and of themselves able to become obscure or transparent at the mere flick of a switch – Switchable Privacy Glass. Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals entrapped between two panes of glass with a power source to activate it. Amazing! But then, we are, after all, in the age of microchips, satellites and nanotechnology. Whiz-bang stuff!

I think it will be a while before we see the total demise of blinds, drapes or curtains, principally because of their potential, decorative nature, but the day will soon be upon us when the simple affordability and effectiveness of electric glass products such as Switchglass’ Switchable Privacy Glass will see it as being the glass of choice to afford privacy. And remember – next time when you gaze vacantly out through that apparent hole in the wall at the world beyond – what you are looking through is a real W-I-N-D-O-W. Nothing to do with Microsoft, but perhaps, conceivably, a space laden with opportunity.

Switchable Glass – Vision or Privacy at the Flick of a Switch

Switchable Privacy Glass

New liquid crystal Switchable Privacy Glass can change appearance, allowing any transition between clear and opaque, in milliseconds. It can be used in internal glass wall partitions in Offices and Board Rooms, in Shopfronts and display windows, in Hotel Lobbies and Entrances – anywhere where alternate vision or privacy is required . . . or as a projection flat screen for presentations and movies.

It can go from clear to opaque, transparent to translucent. It can regulate daylight transmission, and with projection it becomes a massive flat-screen with remarkable image clarity – all at the flick of a switch. In its un-switched state, the liquid crystals diffuse light, rendering the glass opaque. When switched, the liquid crystals align, allowing light to transmit without diffusion. Also, by variable voltage control, any state from clear to opaque can be programmed. It is definitely an improvement on curtains and blinds.

When used for projection, the liquid crystals capture and transmit projected images with very high clarity and resolution from very acute angles, providing an ideal display screen for simultaneous front and rear viewing. This allows the possibility at night of your whole shop front window becoming a giant flat-screen, on which you could display your own “tailor-made” advertising features projected from inside your shop.

This product has scope for a multitude of uses.

A live display of Switchable Glass is located at Home Base Expo Subiaco. Visit www.switchglass.com.au for more information.

Electric Glass

Touch Screen GlassSwitchable Privacy Glass is sometimes referred to as Electric Glass but this latter term refers to a whole genre of “wired”, or “electrified” glass incorporating such technology as “touch-screen”, intelligent glass panels.


Switchable Privacy Glass

How Does It Work

Liquid Crystals are dispersed within a formulated polymer film.

When the film is subjected to a flow of electricity from the power control (at the “flick of a switch”), the crystal particles become active and align in a parallel formation. This allows light to pass through, giving you “clear” glass.

When the flow of electricity is stopped, the crystals return to their original positions, blocking the flow of light. Various states in-between can be programmed into the power control.

Switchable Privacy Glass is available in a variety of colours.

Home Base Subiaco - Switchable Privacy Glass Installation  Switchable Privacy Glass - "Switched On"