• Switched on windows

    Posted on 11th June 2013 by Andy.


    A company from California is about to change the way you look at your windows – or should that be look through your windows? The firm, called SONTE, has developed a Smart Film that can be stuck on to your existing windows and can be controlled by a smartphone app via a wifi connection, allowing you to change the opacity of the glass. So you can go from crystal clear to frosted glass in the blink of an eye. The 0.4mm thick film is made up of lots of particles that are suspended in a liquid between two thin layers of plastic. Left alone they make the film appear opaque. But when a live current is passed through the film it becomes completely transparent. So you can reveal a beautiful view or guard your privacy in less than a second simply by using a free smartphone app. It will even let you adjust the settings to choose what amount of light the film lets through. The film can absorb up to 85% of UV rays, helps retain heat and only uses around 5 watts of power, so SONTE’s Digital Shade, as they are calling it, has excellent eco-credentials.

    The film that comes in one metre squared pieces is simple to install and has multiple uses around the home, from your living room to your bathroom. It’s also very affordable meaning it has the potential to revolutionise home and interior design. In homes that have a lot of glass it could prove an ideal replacement for or accompaniment to more traditional blinds. Find out more here:

    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with blinds, film, glass, home, shades, sonte, window

  • A vision of the future

    Posted on 22nd May 2013 by Andy.


    Google recently let eager technology journalists get their hands on their latest piece of ‘wearable tech’ known as Google Glass. Essentially it’s a computer in a pair of glasses that, among other things, allows you to surf the internet, send emails, record 720p HD video and take pictures.

    For such a small device it is packed with technology. Glass uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect to the internet or your phone and offers 16GB of storage. The innovative screen gives the wearer a view of a translucent screen apparently suspended in front of them on which information, emails, directions, etc are projected. Because it lacks a keyboard Google have incorporated several ways of controlling Glass. The touchpad allows clicking and scrolling functions, while voice activation software means you can prompt actions and search for information. Finally Glass uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to recognise gesture, such as flicking your head up to activate the computer. Voice, gesture and touch obviously have been around for a while now thanks to Apple’s Siri, Xbox’s Kinect and many mp3 players and tablets. But this is probably the most successful use of all three in a device. It’s a nail in the coffin for keyboards and another step towards invisible interfaces. As innovative as Google Glass is, it’s not without its problems. While it makes checking emails and messages less intrusive than looking at your phone unless you’re an amazing multi-tasker you could trail off during a conversation to check out the latest alert to pop up in your viewfinder. It will take quite a confident person to stand in a crowd telling their glasses to ‘take a picture’, which doesn’t seem like a better option to simply pressing a button. Because of its ability to unobtrusively film and take pictures it’s thought that many public places, like cinemas and swimming pools, will ban the use of Google Glass for fear of copyright infringement or voyeurism. Finally, while you’re lost in a cutting edge technological world all everyone else gets to see is you staring into the middle distance slowly stroking the side of their head. While Glass is breaking new ground for technology, time will tell whether it redefines how we interact with technology or just becomes an evolutionary footnote. We should find out towards the end of 2013 when the first consumer versions will be released. They’ll come in a choice of five colours and will probably cost you the best part of £1,000. Find out more: :

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with glass, Google, technology

  • Window of Opportunity

    Posted on 31st May 2011 by Chris.

    One of the most significant features of a home is it's windows. They not only draw in the natural light that enlivens the atmosphere of your interior, they also have tremendous aesthetic importance to the interior and exterior of the house. The wide array of frames, styles and glass options can be combined to produce some very striking and pleasing results. And then you may even consider adding extras such as Controliss window blinds to give complete control over the amount of light you let in through your windows whilst completing a really stylish look. When choosing a frame, the more common options that come to mind are UPVC, timber and aluminium. But the less common selections, such as composite and cut stone frames may suit some homes better. Composite window frames combine the durability of aluminium with the natural insulation of timber, allowing your window frames to better withstand the extremes of the weather on the outside and still help to prevent heat escaping the home. For these reasons, composite frames are growing popularity. Another alternative is the cut stone window surround. Although these will not suit all homes, they give a grand look and are very long lasting. The style of the window very much depends on the window's location and surroundings. You may want your windows to tilt, swing open or be made to do both, but you will need to consider anything around the window that could potentially obstruct it's operation. For example, if you plan to have window blinds top fixed within the recess of the window, it may be in the way when opening a window that tilts and opens inwards. Alternatively, you may decide that you want a box sash window that you can simply slide open. Or you may even decide to install a sun tunnel. These are particularly beneficial for internal rooms as they will allow natural light where it would not normally reach. The various options available for your glass mean you can choose to make your windows, not only energy efficient, but also unique. Coloured or stained glass is a popular choice, but also obtainable are vinyl stained glass films that can be applied to a window to add an off-the-shelf design or even your own design. High quality windows are expensive, but by making the right choices, there is lot of opportunity to create something original that will be pleasing every time it is seen and that could last a lifetime too.

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    This Post was posted in Window Blinds and was tagged with blinds, frame, frames, glass, natural light, window, window blinds, windows

  • Energy Efficient Glass

    Posted on 17th May 2011 by Andy.

    Over the weekend whilst watching the television, I noticed a lot of commercials advertising and promoting Energy Efficient Glass. Although not a new creation, energy efficient glazing and windows has now been given a platform and increasing numbers of people are considering using this when replacing existing windows or at a new build stage. In the past few decades the implementation of double glazed windows has helped tremendously with reducing the cost of heating and energy bills, and there are a number of  options for different types of specific coatings on the glass like Pilkington's Activ Self-Cleaning glass and low emissivity energy efficient glass such as the energikare by Pilkington or Planitherm. Here’s how energy efficient glass works… Believe it or not up to 26% of your houses energy is actually lost through the glass! That’s a quarter of your houses energy! Although double glazing does improve reducing the loss of energy there is more you can do with the type of glazing you choose. As the natural rays of the sun stream into the rooms of your home, they create warmth. Normally the warmth could escape through the pores in the glass, but Energy Efficient glass has a special coating on the inside of the pane which reflects the warm energy back into the room.  This not only includes the natural energy from the sun but also heating from radiators and fires already in the home. This then enables you to turn the heating down in your home.  There are plenty of companies currently providing energy efficient glass like Pilkington and PlaniTherm. If you're one of the lucky people who have sun streaming through and it all gets too much then you could consider putting up a beautiful Controliss remote control blind. Then you can control how much sun comes into the room and how warm and bright you want it. They will work hand in hand with energy efficient glass and look amazing too. Not only can you transform your windows and decrease the use of the heating in your home, but you’re helping the environment with less energy escaping from the home and therefore a decrease in your carbon footprint.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with blinds, efficient, energy, energy efficient, glass, glazing, home, Remote Control, window, windows

  • The Colour of Glass

    Posted on 6th May 2011 by Andy.

    It’s so nice to loll around in bed at the weekends, that well deserved lie in is a real treat, that is until the sun streams through the window, burning through your eyelids. Then you have to get up. Despite how many curtains and old bed sheets you hang in the window you can’t quite seem to block those early morning rays. You could go very continental and install shutters, but beware, if you need that loo break in the middle of the night, you stagger around in the dark and could end up breaking something else! You could be a clever clog and install Controliss blinds, that way you wouldn’t even have to get out of bed. Why? Because they are remote control, and it’s doesn’t get much better than that, all you need now is a robot to bring you your tea and morning paper and maybe some kind of system to help you decide what you need to do over the course of the day and which clothes will suit your chores. Another way to dress your windows, which seems incredibly popular at the moment, is stained glass. I understand that you probably wouldn’t want to wake up thinking you’re at the altar of a church but it’s a lot more colourful and creative, you wouldn’t even have to cover the whole window, there are smaller stained glass pieces you can hang in the window that catch the light. There are a lot of places that provide stained glass courses so you can make your own creative piece of art in stained glass. If you think that’s too much effort there are lots of very talented artists such as Abinger Stained Glass and Richard Pett of Stained Glass Art who you can purchase from or have that extra special something commissioned that has real meaning to you. And some reclamation companies out there offer reclaimed stained glass that has real depth and history. So the next time you’re woken at 5am by the sun, think about how to harness those beautiful rays, with a remote control blind and a piece of colourful glass art.

    This Post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with art, colour, glass, stained, window, windows

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