What is smart glass and privacy glass?

Great Ways to Use Smart Glass Windows and Privacy glass windows in Offices!

Posted Date: Nov 24, 2021

Before we discuss how smart glass and privacy glass can be included in office spaces, you need to know what these are and the benefits they offer.

Smart glasses are an upgrade to the traditional glasses that looked pretty but weren’t too functional. These are dynamic, durable and multifunctional glasses that can change appearance (and some other properties) with the help of an electric charge!

Privacy glass, on the other hand, is a type of custom glass made at a factory that allows some light to pass through without risking your privacy in any way. There are various other benefits associated with using privacy glass windows like scratch resistance, high durability, limited passage to light, better aesthetics and much more. But there are some cons as well like significantly decreased visibility during fog, night and rainy conditions. Privacy glass windows are the go-to choice for domestic as well as commercial purposes from bathrooms to cubicles. There are different types of privacy glasses and every one of them is produced using a different method, some methods date back to ancient times while some are relatively new.

Types of smart glass

There are two types of smart glasses available in the market:

  1. Active smart glass

  2. When an electric charge is required to change the appearance of the glass then it’s called an active smart glass. It has electrically charged (and activated) glass films and coatings and are usually categorized into - Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (used as partitions), Suspended Particle Device (for tinted windows) and electrochromic glass (coated windows that slowly tint)

  3. Passive smart glass

  4. Passive smart glasses respond to heat (thermochromic glasses) or light (photochromic glasses) instead of electrical charge or manual touch. These are mainly used as coated windows in areas that need variable lighting.

Types of privacy glass

Different types of privacy glass require different kinds of raw materials as well as a specific manufacturing process and to understand them better you should know about each type of privacy glass by reading the points given below:

  1. Frosted Glass Windows

  2. Frosted glass is pretty similar to common clear glass but is made translucent by a process called sandblasting (also known as abrasive blasting). In this process, a stream of abrasive material is forcibly propelled against the glass surface to roughen it up and to make it harder for light to pass through. Frosted glass is known for providing some degree of privacy without restricting much of the incoming light. Frosted glasses can be further classified into 3 parts- permanent frosted glass, temporary frosted glass and ultra-fine frosted glass. Frosted glass can be seen in bathrooms, bedrooms, offices, libraries, etc. Its non-corrosive nature and aesthetic aiding qualities make it the best choice for bathrooms.

  3. Leadlight Windows

  4. Leadlight or leaded windows are a type of decorative windows that comprises small sections of glass supported in lead cames. Nowadays leadlight windows are commonly seen in churches but they have their roots that can be traced back to the windows found in Roman and Byzantine architecture. Most leadlight windows are custom made and require an artist to cut different colour glass into specific shapes and then supported by lead cames. This glass is used in guest room windows, bathroom partitions, bedroom windows, skylights, lampshades, churches and much more and all the credit goes to their translucent nature and good looks. In addition to that, you can find these windows in various floral designs, abstract geometry, etc.

  5. Switchable Glass Windows

  6. Switchable glass windows reimage the windows of the yesteryears by providing the user with the ability to switch them back and forth between a clear window panel and an opaque one with just a flip of a button. It is made with PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals) technology. When electricity is applied to the glass, the liquid crystals align themselves in such a way that light can pass through it completely but when the circuit breaks (or the power is turned off), the liquid crystals move back to their original place thus making the glass opaque in the process. With this, you will be able to enjoy the outside view without compromising your privacy while also filtering the light that comes inside. Switchable glass windows can be seen in workplaces because of its beautiful and smart looks and low maintenance requirements.

  7. One-way Window Glasses

  8. One-way window glasses as the name suggests let the person inside enjoy the outside view without letting anyone outside get a peek of the insides. It also goes by the name one-way mirror glasses as it has a thin reflective outer surface that bounces off half the light incident on it and lets the other half enter through. One-way windows can be commonly seen in cars, police stations, showrooms, malls and workplaces but have made their way to residential buildings as well thanks to its privacy enhancement properties. If you are looking for a glass that blocks not only the outside gaze but also UV traditions then tinted one-way window glasses is a complete no-brainer for you.

Application of Smart glass and privacy glass in commercial spaces

If you have been planning to include smart glasses or privacy glasses in your office space but aren’t sure which roles it can take over, then you are in luck as we have listed out some practical applications that go beyond installing smart glass windows and doors.

So make sure to refer to the list below so you can include as many implementations into your design plan as possible!

  • Screens and boards

  • No matter which team you are a part of, having large surfaces for brainstorming are always helpful. What if we told you that you can use almost any wall into a board for jotting down ideas? You can save some bucks by investing in these glasses which can not only act as walls but also as dashboard and projection screens.

    People can use the markers to pen down their thoughts, plans and even list daily tasks during team meetings for easy reference. It can eliminate the need of installing an additional whiteboard in every meeting room. The marker won’t leave any residue on these glasses so you won’t need any additional cleaning agent to wipe off the marks.

    You can also use it as a touch-friendly, high-definition projector screen for presentations and dramatic visual displays. The fact that it can be switched back to plain old glass with a single touch makes it even more fascinating and office-friendly!

  • Aesthetically pleasing windows and doors

  • You might have guessed beforehand that glass windows and walls look much more aesthetically pleasing than dull walls. You can always ditch flimsy wallpapers, rusted bricks and stone walls and install smart glass in the reception area to make it look more vibrant and happening!

    The glass windows and walls not only make the rooms look more spacious and comfortable but also let you customise and flaunt your creative talents in the best possible manner. No matter which industry you’re a part of, every office needs to look modern and timeless and smart glass can do the job quite well.

  • Can be used in the exteriors

  • When combined with several interlayered sheets or PDLC layers, these smart glasses can be strong enough to handle the outside world on their own. Be it the harsh weather, everyday wear and tear or heavy impacts, these smart glasses can survive it all.

    You can count on them to not shatter due to the slightest mishaps and this makes them a great alternative for designing the outermost areas of your office like the waiting room, window panels, or reception area.

    The PDLC liquid crystal film enhances the durability and reliability along and increases the lifespan of the glass significantly. You can even get bulletproof, anti-bandit or fire-resistant glass by investing a bit more as it can prove to be a fruitful investment in the long run.

    You can switch them from opaque to transparent as per requirement and it can even help you reduce the security expenses as you won’t need excessive security measures for enhanced protection.

  • Meeting rooms

  • Since these glasses can have variable transparency and allow you to modify the visibility, they can also be used in meeting rooms.

    Not only can they block the external noise and help isolate for increased concentration, but also make sure people can’t overhear what’s going inside.

    You can use one of the panels as a whiteboard or a projector without any hassles so your meetings can be conducted efficiently and without any issues with minimal equipment. You can keep a check on the surroundings without compromising your privacy or obstructing the view by turning the walls opaque whenever you want.

  • Cabins

  • Adding a fun twist to the employees’ cabins is now possible with the smart glass! You can install them as partitions for cabin space or cubicles as this will not only allow enough natural light but also give everyone the flexibility to switch the glass from opaque to transparent (or enable sound insulation) whenever they want. People can pick between open and isolated workspaces anytime they want to ensure enhanced productivity and better focus.

  • Partitions

  • Smart glasses can be used as partitions as they are energy efficient and can prevent heat and light from entering the room. This can significantly lower your electricity bills during the summer season. This switchable glass is very energy efficient as it prevents heat and light from entering in. Thus using this glass can reduce the use of air conditioners in your office exponentially during summer and require less heating during winter as well.

  • Blinds

  • You can replace the dull blinds with smart glasses as they not only allow natural light to flood into the room but can also act as blinds when you need privacy. Be it a conference room, cubicle or security area, it can be installed anywhere.

    It also blocks UV rays, isn’t high-maintenance (a simple wipe will do the job) and is more durable and resistant to dust and grime, unlike blinds and curtains which lose their colour and shine in a few months and need to be replaced frequently.

  • Creative spaces

  • If you love to hear from your colleagues or workers and want to introduce a flat hierarchy where everyone can voice his or her opinion easily, then you should probably consider installing a creativity board in your office. These boards can be used by everyone to show their artistic skills, pen down ideas or feedback anonymously or jot down inspirational quotes or thoughts for everyone to read.

    Smart glass windows can also double up as creative corners where different teams can show their artwork or creativity during festive seasons or parties with ease! This will help create a vibrant, fun and open work environment and help keep the conflicts at bay.

Now that we have listed out a bunch of ways in which you can include smart glass and privacy glass in your office, it’s time you pick the ones that best suit your needs (and budget)! If you have any more practical applications besides smart glass windows and doors, that can make commercial spaces more vibrant, eco-friendly and attractive, then feel free to share them with us!

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