Can a Window be an iPad?

John G. Swanson
February 15, 2012
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

About a year ago, we highlighted a Corning video entitled "A Day Made of Glass" and asked the question, Will You Sell Touchscreen Windows and Door?  It turned out to be one of the most viewed pages of our website last year.

So when someone told me about another video, a demonstration of Samsung's Transparent Smart Window from the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show, I decided I had to share it here as well. I don't know what kind of timeline Samsung imagines for the introduction of such a product, but the company is already promoting the concept of transparent LCD displays to the OEM market.

Given the similar subject matter of the videos, I thought I'd ask the same poll question we asked last year and see if opinions are changing.  When do you see this coming to our industry?  Take our poll below and, of course, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Post a comment and tell us, if you could turn part of a door or window into an iPad, where would you put it? And if they don't want a fully-functioning computer, what functions would your customers want?

 

Survey Results as of 02/24/2012:

 

How long before touchscreen glass technology moves to building product applications?

5 Years or Less

  

 

39%

5 to 10 Years

  

 

32%

10 to 20 Years

  

 

21%

More than 20 Years

  

 

7%

I heard from quite a few people who thought the Samsung system was interesting, but just how exactly the technology might be linked with windows and doors remains a bit of a mystery to many.  Three challenges face such products, one reader wrote. "Durability, durability and durability."

Still, our poll results suggest the industry is starting to see the idea of touchscreen controls as a possibility.  A year ago, 34 percent of our respondents said such technology would make its way into building product applications within five years.  This year, that figure is up to 39 percent.  Perhaps the more telling change is in the decrease of those predicting it will be more than 20 years before we start seeing these types of products in the real world.  That figure now stands at 7 percent.  It was 23 percent a year ago.

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 We have a magnet on the inside of our front door that holds reminders such as we need milk, pick up somebody at such and such time. I can imagine having messages on my door glass. I won't have to worry about the storm door flying open at Christmas because of the wreath that pushes it open. My wife could change the design of the glass daily. I can imagine hospitals or business' having inventory supplies on a glass cabinet door. A business could change their displays or offers many times a day. I do not know how this innovation will fit with superior insulated windows but one of the bains of my exsistance has been blinds in the airspace. Do you remember the Back to the Future movies where the windows in the McFly home were illustrating beautiful views but they were flickering and needed maintence? An example of the possibility 20 years ago. What about glass as interior walls where we enjoy a 144 x 96 inch tv, Your patio door doubleing as a tv, or the ability to either open up or close the flow of a home using glass walls?

Success!

Jerry M Hartman

OK, we all like gee-whiz technology, and this definitely qualifies as that. But just because it's new and innovative, it doesn't necessarily follow that it's practical.

First, while there is certainly a movement towards ultra energy-efficient windows, and super-insulated walls, there is still some push back on pricing of these "superstar" offerings. The Samsung offers none of that, but at I would suppose would be an even higher cost to the consumer. So, question #1 is: what's the payback?

Second, I cannot remember the last time we made a window in a 720 x 480 proportion, much less a 1280 x 800 or a 1680 x 1050 proportion. You kinda have to make the (replacement) window fit into the opening that there, not build it around the screen resolution of the toucscreen.

Third, in our kitchen, which is I suspect, like most kitchens, there are these things called cabinets which make it somewhat difficult to reach the windows to open and close them (hence the popularity of awning, casements and sliders over the sink). I can only imagine the lower back pain that would be precipitated by the constant reaching to the window to browse through web pages... not to mention the fingerprints on the kitchen windows... which I KNOW would drive my wife nuts!

Finally, it's not too uncommon for the errant soccer ball or baseball to find its way into the home. When this happens, it's not too costly an undertaking to get the glass replaced. I'd hate to see the cost for replacing this if that were to happen.

I guess I'll stay old-school and use my good ole' laptop, smart phone or IPAD for performing all the functions that Samsung can do with my kitchen window.