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Sonte Film controls a window's opacity with a smartphone

By

June 4, 2013

The Sonte Film connects wirelessly to a smartphone app to instantly turn any window from c...

The Sonte Film connects wirelessly to a smartphone app to instantly turn any window from clear to opaque at the press of a button

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Smart glass has become a popular fixture in homes and offices for its ability to change between transparent and opaque, depending on whether an electric current is applied. It's a handy invention, but also tends to be expensive to install and offers only limited control. Sonte is hoping to change that with an affordable window film that connects wirelessly to a smartphone app to instantly turn any section of glass from clear to solid at the press of a button.

Unlike most smart glass kits, Sonte Film is designed for do-it-yourself installation. Rather than replacing an entire window to get the effect, the covering can be sized and cut to fit any existing glass partition. Once it's attached, an electrostatic cling adhesive on the back of the film keeps it stuck to the glass.

Sonte developed its own conductor clip to supply electricity to the film, which is about the size of a coin and which connects to a Wi-Fi-enabled transformer with a slim concealable cord. After the film is in place, users can control its level of opacity from any location using a free iOS or Android app.

Having privacy on command may be the most obvious advantage to covering a window with Sonte Film, but it provides a few additional uses as well. Since the covering blocks UV rays, users can change its transparency to adjust a room's temperature or lighting and conserve energy as a result. In opaque mode, the film is also solid enough to act as a projector screen for a home theater or office.

Since the covering blocks UV rays, users can change its transparency to adjust a room's te...

The system isn't completely perfect however. Even in full transparent mode, the film blocks 30 percent of light from entering and affects the glass' clarity when viewed from an angle. Meanwhile, the most opaque setting still allows five percent of light through. The developers are hoping to develop the film further for a better range of opacity in the future.

The company is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to bring the Sonte Film to market and is offering kits as rewards, which are expected to ship in September. The kits start at US$65 for a 50 x 50 cm (1.6 x 1.6 ft) square and range all the way up to $374 for a 1 x 2 m (3.3 x 6.6 ft) sheet, plus shipping costs. Most include the Wi-Fi-enabled transformer, conducting clip, cables, cleaning kit, and the Sonte Film itself, though kits with simple on/off switches are available as well.

See the video below to see the Sonte Film in action.

Source: Kickstarter, Sonte

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher
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4 Comments

I was interested so looked at their web site. However, I never trust a web site that does not show any sign of the firm's location and street address - so - sorry Sonte, I lost interest.

The product sounds great but it is rather expensive - normal sized windows could cost a lot of money to cover at $187 per sq m.

I wish them good luck with the product development and hope they can get the price down in due course -and of course, be a little less coy about who they actually are.

Alien
4th June, 2013 @ 08:10 am PDT

A reasonable, but not cheap idea! However - what happens when the sun starts streaming in and your teenager has grabbed the only (yours) charged smartphone in the house and disappeared? Or if somebody else has the app on their phone, walks past the 'dimmed' windows and clears them again? EEEEEK! It would be like the early days of remote garage doors, drive down the street and see how many you could open.

The Skud
4th June, 2013 @ 06:55 pm PDT

I think the bit about being a video screen is misleading. It invites you to believe it is more than a reflector of light from an external projector.

Technical specifications ( http://sonte.com/tech-specs ) do not mention temperature operating range. Does that cute little clip have dangerous voltages ?

this *product* looks like a scam at this point.

99guspuppet

99gusPuppet
5th June, 2013 @ 10:24 am PDT

Some informed comments are needed for this article. Expensive compared to what? Currently smart glass sourced directly from China goes for 500-800USD/m2. Plus shipping. Plus it needs to be ordered to size and professionally installed. So DIY and 187USD/ m2 is looking pretty sweet.

Operating temperature range? Listed on Kickstarter presentation as -20C to +70C. That it can be used as a projection screen is quite clear.

Presenting a project on Kickstarter requires a certain level of transparency about who is behind it. No guarantee that it will work out but it gives some accountability. I will be investing in this idea.

JFM
7th June, 2013 @ 01:31 am PDT
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