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Energy harvesting smart solar windows might soon take your homes!

Energy harvesting smart solar windows might soon take your homes!

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In Summary

Researchers from theUniversity of Maryland had developed a smart window technology that can harvest electricity when turned off and use it when the window is turned on. 

Editor Posted by Ansheed

The smart window is getting smarter enough.

A team of researchers from theuniversity of Maryland developed a window technology which can harvest electricity from the solar energy and use it when required. Literally, the window is self-powered unless the clouds don't throw a game! The best part is that extra juice stored can be used to power other home appliances.

There were previous versions of this smart window but they couldn’t embrace properly on the market due to lack of the utility aspect. The predecessors cannot be turned on and off as and when we required, instead, they were automatically adjusted and were poor in extracting solar energy.

The all new smart windows

With improved technology and inventions, this new smart window can be turned on and off as you wish. In the construction, they have used a polymer matrix with microdroplets of liquid crystals along with a layer of silicon similar to solar panels. This assembly is sandwiched between two glass plates, completing the window setup. 

During the off mode, the liquid crystals in the panelblock light and use it for generating electricity employing the silicon layer. Such generated electricity is stored so that the windows can be turned on thelater point of time. During the on mode, the liquid crystals are adjusted in their angle, allowing light to pass through them.

How smart is this window? 

Researchers noticed that even when turned on the pane can harvest asmall portion of solar energy. The opaque surface is still active in the on mode in acertain angle, allowing silicon layer to absorb sunlight. This would maximize the energy efficiency of the window.

Unlike predecessor the complete control of window is in users hands. There is no need for a curtain to cover the window to ensure privacy. Moreover, the extra energy can power a television, charge your accessories, run a couple of lights, etc. The electronic controllability of this devices makes them easy for improvisation and study.

In near future, windows might go smart enough to harvest enough energy to meet your extra demand. Also, an American company is working on building television incorporated with this smart window so that they could work independently of grid power.


Joseph Murray, Dakang Ma, Jeremy N. Munday. Electrically Controllable Light Trapping for Self-Powered Switchable Solar WindowsACS Photonics, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acsphotonics.6b00518