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Glass

Science

A touch of silver lets smart windows go from clear to translucent

Imagine if instead of installing curtains or blinds, you could simply adjust the opacity of the glass in your windows. Not only would this allow you to vary the amount of privacy they provided, but it would also let you determine how much sunlight got through, keeping rooms from overheating during the day yet still letting light in later on. Well, that's how the various types of smart windows work. Researchers at Harvard University have now developed one of their own, which they say is simpler and cheaper than what's come before.Read More

3D Printing

3D printer extrudes molten glass to produce objets d'art

The list of materials capable of being extruded through a 3D printer seems to grow by the week, moving well beyond plastics, food and metals to now include another unlikely substance: glass. And while previous 3D printing methods have used powdered glass and silica sand, a team of researchers led by Neri Oxman out of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group has developed a 3D printer that extrudes molten glass.Read More

Space

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detects impact glass

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected deposits of impact glass on the Red Planet that may provide a fresh avenue for investigating the question of whether life ever existed there. The hope is that glass forged in the intense conditions created by an asteroid impact may have preserved microscopic signs of life, as it has here on Earth.Read More

Around The Home

Smart windows can be tuned for privacy, while still letting the light shine through

The glass panels that let light into our homes and offices have been seen as huge windows of opportunity for engineers in recent times. If the amount of light pouring through can be managed throughout the day, it could lessen reliance on energy-sapping air conditioner units, for instance. This has led to a number of examples of smart facades that keep interior spaces from overheating, and some that even harvest energy for lights and ventilation. But a new tunable window-tinting technology is claimed to do things the smart glass before it cannot, by allowing users control over brightness, color temperature and opacity.Read More

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