How 'liquid glass' will change the way we see the world
New tech from startup Gauzy aims to impact everything from cars windows to refrigerator doors.
Attention curtains and shades: your time is running out.
Gauzy, a tech startup based in Israel, is years into development on a liquid crystal film that, when applied to glass, can make the surface opaque or clear at the touch of a finger. Thanks to low-voltage electromagnetic pulses that rearrange the crystals, having privacy from the outside world will soon be as easy as swiping your finger across a window.
That future is fast approaching. Just this month at the prestigious Startup Autobahn in Stuttgart, Germany, car giant Mercedes-Benz revealed that it had privately been collaborating with Gauzy for the past three years to implement its liquid crystal glass technology into future luxury vehicles.
“I like this kind of innovation in our cars," Professor Thomas Weber, who sits on the research and development board for Mercedes-Benz, said in an interview. "We can use these type of things that would offer us additional opportunities. You can immediately switch between different styles. As everybody knows, light is a really important influence which affects your motivation, your mood and also when it comes to security or safety."
Gauzy is centrally located in the globally renowned startup ecosystem of Tel Aviv, Israel. The company has seen its technology receive early adoption in everything from hotels in Israel to trade shows in Germany and hotel airports in Singapore. Current applications include retail store dressing rooms that automatically turn opaque when a customer uses them, glass elevators that reduce transparency to help those with a fear of heights, and even boardrooms with windows that can dynamically shift to allow projection of computer displays.
"We can embed technologies in any kind of glass used for any kind of application," Gauzy co-founder Eyal Paso, a graduate of Tel Aviv University, said in a recent TV interview. As an example, he noted the recent request from a major appliance manufacturer to design a refrigerator that makes it easier for people to see what's inside. Gauzy built a concept featuring an opaque glass door that turns translucent when a user touches it.
"You can see what's inside without opening it," Paso explained. "And that can greatly reduces energy waste."
Paso credits Gauzy's unique business plan for the rapid global adoption of its technology.
"The way we are able to sell in Brazil, Australia, Europe, and coming soon, the United States and Japan, is that we partner with big glass manufacturers anywhere in the world," he said. "We actually certify with them on how to embed liquid crystal displays in the glass based on their own manufacturing facility and then they can do projects anywhere."
In the future, Paso says the technology will one day enable low-resolution displays, allowing, say, for the train window next to your seat to display personalized arrival times or the front panel of your fridge to let you know when you're low on milk.
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