After evaluating various technologies, Daimler AG selected Research Frontiers’ patented SPD-Smart light-control technology for one of its latest Mercedes-Benz innovations: the MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic glass roof. The MAGIC SKY CONTROL feature allows drivers and passengers to change the tint of their car roof from dark to clear instantly with the press of a button. The first Mercedes-Benz vehicle model to offer the MAGIC SKY CONTROL glass roof as an option will be the new Mercedes-Benz SLK which debuted on January 29, 2011.
Nanoparticles suspended in a film manufactured by Hitachi Chemical Company under license from Research Frontiers allow users to control, automatically or with the push of a button, the tint from between very dark (blocking over 99.5% of visible light, which is about 50-60 times darker than a typical sunroof) to about twice as clear as an ordinary sunroof. The new Mercedes-Benz SLK will be the first large-scale series production vehicle to use Research Frontiers’ patented SPD-Smart light-control technology.
Mercedes-Benz put the MAGIC SKY CONTROL SPD-SmartGlass roof through rigorous durability and performance testing in some of the most extreme conditions on earth. This included testing in the arctic cold of Scandinavia (with temperatures below -22ºF/-30ºC) and the blistering desert heat of Death Valley, California (with temperatures exceeding 122ºF/50ºC).
The MAGIC SKY CONTROL feature using SPD-Smart light-control technology allows drivers many benefits including the ability to create the open-air feeling of a roadster even when the weather does not permit one to open the roof. It also blocks over 99% of harmful UV radiation and substantially reduces heat inside the vehicle. Test data published by Mercedes-Benz shows the ability of the roof to reduce sun exposure to 1/20th of direct exposure levels (from over 1,000 watts/square meter to less than 50 watts/square meter). When compared to conventional automotive glass, Mercedes-Benz reported that the use of SPD-SmartGlass significantly reduces the temperature inside the vehicle by up to 18ºF/10ºC. This increases passenger comfort and reduces air conditioning loads, thereby saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.
Research Frontiers holds about 500 patents and patent applications worldwide on its SPD-Smart light-control technology, and licenses it to 39 companies, including most of the world’s leading automotive glass manufacturers.
Joseph M. Harary, President and CEO of Research Frontiers noted: “Research Frontiers has invested over $80 million to develop SPD-Smart light-control technology. This has allowed Daimler AG and its Mercedes-Benz brand to take the lead to be the first car manufacturer to offer its customers the most advanced and highest-performing smart glass in the world. The Mercedes-Benz development team spearheaded a coordinated effort across three continents among Research Frontiers and our licensees.”
The Research Frontiers licensees involved with the production of the MAGIC SKY CONTROL roof for the SLK include Hitachi Chemical, which manufactures the SPD-Smart light-control film in Japan and has recently announced its capacity to manufacture 4.3 million square feet of SPD film per year. Automotive glass companies Nippon Sheet Glass in Japan and Pilkington in the UK and Germany then process and laminate Hitachi’s SPD film into the glass for the MAGIC SKY CONTROL roof. SPD Control Systems and Research Frontiers have jointly licensed intellectual property to Daimler AG regarding the electronics to control the SPD-SmartGlass in the Mercedes-Benz SLK and other vehicles.
About Research Frontiers Inc.
Research Frontiers Inc. (Nasdaq: REFR) is the developer of SPD-Smart light-control technology which allows users to instantly, precisely and uniformly control the shading of glass or plastic, either manually or automatically. Having spent over $80 million to date to develop its technology, Research Frontiers currently holds approximately 500 patents and patent applications and has built an infrastructure of 39 licensed companies that collectively are capable of serving the growing global demand for smart glass products in automobiles, homes, buildings, aircraft and boats. Further information about SPD-Smart technology, Research Frontiers and its licensees can be found at www.SmartGlass.com.