OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — In a cavernous manufacturing plant about 20 miles from Memphis, a vision of the future is humming away.
A California start-up called View, which has raised a whopping $500 million from investors including Corning, General Electric and Khosla Ventures, is making high-tech windows that have the potential to bring to buildings what high-resolution touchscreens did for smartphones.
View’s windows eliminate glare, change hue, moderate internal temperature — and at some point, could show entirely different views of the outside world — via a process that uses a pane of glass sprayed with electrochromic material, which alters light transmission.
The result is smart glass that increases energy efficiency and promises better worker productivity, via technology accessed through an app.
“When you look at smart glass, the only smart surface we saw was on our phones,” says Ben Bajarin, an analyst for Creative Strategies who follows the industry. “Now, we believe consumers are moving toward an age where smart glass can do almost anything — for example, project images of the sun on your windows during a rainy day or viewing data on the window.”
While elements of the technology have been around on a smaller scale, such as car windows, View is the first company to commercially produce such glass at a large scale. SageGlass, a Minnesota-based maker of electrochromic glass, is perhaps View’s best-known competitor.
Smart, or dynamic, glass is turning out to be a key component in the connected building market that some peg at up to $1 trillion. View estimates the smart glass market could be worth an estimated $100 billion worldwide.
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