The best of both worlds would then be a material that does both: offers privacy when you need it, but on the flip side also offers up views and sunlight when you need it. The good news is that glass can now be applied in these two contexts flexibly, due to the increasingly advanced technology in the glass industry today.
In this newsletter, we shed some light on glass and privacy (these two concepts are not mutually exclusive) that will throw away your notions of glass only being able to be of one variant.
Yes, glass can be clear, it can be opaque, but it can also be both, thus providing the solution of flexible privacy. The customisable levels of privacy are as follows:
For two-way privacy in 1 second
Ever seen spy movies where an opaque glass is turned into clear glass with the flick of a switch to reveal a plot twist? This is actually a technology that exists in real life and not merely a figment of imagination from the scriptwriters. This glass (PrivaGlas) goes by many names.
Some know it as switchable glass, smart glass, or even magic glass. It offers flexible privacy in just 1 second, as the user just has to toggle an ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch in order to immediately transform the glass from clear to opaque, or vice versa. Occupants on both sides of the glass will not be able to see each other when it is opaque.
In home settings, this glass can be used to separate the study area from the bedroom, or to separate the bathroom from the bedroom.
In office settings, this glass can be used to separate meeting rooms from office cubicles, or any rooms where access is sensitive.
For two-way privacy in 1 minute
Current research and development coupled with modern technology allows enclosing of blinds in an insulated glass unit (VariShade). Instead of additional blinds that are installed in front of a glass window or glass wall, these blinds are installed within the glass panes and are able to offer flexible privacy.
For privacy, simply press the ‘down’ button to roll the blinds out. It should take about a minute for the blinds to roll out from the top to the bottom, but that of course also depends on the height of your glass. For an unobstructed clear view, simply press the ’up’ button and the blinds will go up to reveal the glass wall/window and the view behind it.
All blinds are fully customisable at no additional cost. Just like manual blinds, they can be controlled and tilted completely to offer maximum privacy from the external environment. Unlike manual blinds though, no maintenance of the blinds is necessary as it is encapsulated in between two panes of glass, ensuring that no dust is able to get in.
A bonus with VariShade is that it also offers sound privacy. The layer of non-convective air in between glass panes is able to cut down sound transmission, shielding you from unwanted external noise in homes and preventing leakage of information from meeting rooms.
By buffering against the outside world, VariShade gives a desirable upgrade to any indoor, private experience.
For one-way privacy on the darker side
Ever seen criminal investigation shows where police officers watched from behind a glass while the suspect is being interrogated in the room? In the police officer’s perspective, the glass is see-through and they can see everything happening in the room clearly.
However, switch over to the suspect’s perspective and he just sees his reflection in the same glass, with no clue that the police officers are observing him from the other side.
This one-way mirror is made by coating with a sparse silver coating that plays with the presence and absence of light to give users the privacy they want. The pre-condition for this glass is that the room to be kept private must remain dark, while the other side must remain bright.
The light in the brightly-lit room causes the glass to appear reflective, while reflecting light back from the mirror’s surface. In contrast, since the other side is dark, light from the brightly-lit room passes through the glass and into the other side.
The intensity of the light in the brightly-lit room results in a “spy” mirror where only the dark side gets to observe what is going on in the brightly-lit room. SSG also supplies this glass for privacy purposes.