Sonte's smart 'digital shades' will let iPhone users control natural light levels

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Owners of Apple's iPhone and iPad will be getting yet another home automation option this fall, as Sonte Film is preparing to roll out a digital shade technology that allows users to adjust the level of light getting in through their home's windows by using just an app.



Sonte's digital shades are a smart film that is applied to a window or any other glass surface. By running a current through the film, users can make it alternate between transparent and opaque.

Sonte designed the film to be user-installable, and it has an adhesive on one side that allows it to stick to a surface. Users measure the area of the window they wish to cover, cut the smart film to the necessary size, and stick it to the surface they wish to cover. From there a prototype clip attaches to each separate segment of film, allowing users to daisy chain sections for simultaneous operation.

Users can then control the opacity of the film with an app that the company has built for both iOS and Android devices. The whole system works via Wi-Fi transmission.



The company also notes that the resulting non-transparent surface is then opaque enough to serve as a projector screen suitable for game playing and movie watching. The switch from transparent to translucent takes place in less than one second, and the film itself is 0.4mm thick.

Sonte says the film absorbs more than 85 percent of ultraviolet radiation. It also reflects more than 70 percent of infrared radiation.

When Sonte's smart film launches later this year, the film sections will retail at $260 for a 1x1 meter segment. The Wi-Fi transmitter will cost $300. The group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $200,000 to expand their production facilities. Early supporters of the initiative will receive discounts on the film, daisy chain packs, and Wi-Fi transmitters.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Eh, I'm not so much a fan of this type of centralization. A house should have a central computer (say, a simple Mac Mini-style thing) through which all the processing is handled and interfaces (your iDevice being but ONE of them) placed strategically throughout.

    I see the physical lightswitch boxes of today being replaced with small touchscreens. From there, the room's lighting, windows, speakers, and climate could be controlled, as well as those of the rest of the house (but defaulting to the room from which it's being used). Alerts would show on each, including your kitchen timers (with oven and range controls), calendar, phone, and so much more.

    Heck, if you have intelligent items in a room, your house can show you where they are. There could be a lost item alert; you walk into a room looking for your phone and the screen in there tells you your phone's around (though you could just send a sound to Find My iPhone), for example. And then your iDevice becomes your primary home control only when out and about.

    I still think in-home Siri would do wonders, but that's a different topic. When the voice processing can all be done client-side, your home could [B]safely[/B] be always listening through an intercom in each room (part of the aforementioned touchscreen assembly). Just [B]ask[/B] your house to do these things!
  • Reply 2 of 9
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Hopefully the stuff doesn't create air bubbles when exposed to heat for extended periods of time - like car window tinting often does.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    But what if that one Mac Mini dies? Then you're SOL. I think there should be something in between what you are talking about and the current state of things.

    I'd love to have something like this on my south facing windows but at $260 m^2 I think I'll wait a little bit...
  • Reply 4 of 9
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Pretty neat--I like how it's white when opaque. Always imagined this kind of thing would be LCD-black, I guess.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,670member
    I don't see the appeal of wifi / smart control in this instance. Same with light bulbs. I mean, I can see how it COULD be useful, 9 out of ten its quicker to reach for the wall control.
    But I love the technology. I once was at a bar in NYC where the cubicles in the bathroom were translucent until you flipped the lock. V cool.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,055member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    Pretty neat--I like how it's white when opaque. Always imagined this kind of thing would be LCD-black, I guess.




    A la Blade Runner.


    The first thing I thought of.

  • Reply 7 of 9
    Will it keep sunlight out?
  • Reply 8 of 9
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    Owners of Apple's iPhone and iPad will be getting yet another home automation option this fall, as Sonte Film is preparing to roll out a digital shade technology that allows users to adjust the level of light getting in through their home's windows by using just an app.

    [...]

    <a href="http://sonte.com/">Sonte</a>'s digital shades are a smart film that is applied to a window or any other glass surface. By running a current through the film, users can make it alternate between transparent and opaque.

    [...]

    From there a prototype clip attaches to each separate segment of film, allowing users to daisy chain sections for simultaneous operation.

    [...]

    When Sonte's smart film launches later this year, the film sections will retail at $260 for a 1x1 meter segment. The Wi-Fi transmitter will cost $300. The group is currently running a <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/843725167/sonte-iphone-ipad-android-diy-wifi-digital-shades">Kickstarter campaign</a> aimed at raising $200,000 to expand their production facilities. Early supporters of the initiative will receive discounts on the film, daisy chain packs, and Wi-Fi transmitters.

    so it's not just an app. it's an app. and some film. and a transmitter. and some electricity.

    do you think it'll still be a prototype clip when the thing is released?

    i have a wall of windows in my living room. i'd need 21 1-meter-square segments for the windows and doors. add in a transmitter and i'm looking at north of six grand, usd. yikes. those blackout curtains are looking better and better.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,381member
    It's early days but as this technology matures you won't need to project anything you will use Airplay and it will be both a curtain or shade and a massive screen. As others have said it could easily be imagined with Siri control ... 'Set rear windows to Big Sur ocean view and play..."

    I have zero doubt this will be available in a few years. Perhaps Apple TV is a role of DIY self adhesive plastic and an App. :)
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