Believe it. A room divider or window can feature glass that is entirely opaque until you flick a switch, which makes it transparent.
Switchable privacy glass consists of two panels that sandwich a polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal film that conducts electricity.
The glass is opaque until the voltage is switched on, which causes the film’s particles to align, turning the glass transparent. The glass panels are used to divide or conceal rooms and can be hooked up to motion sensors. A shower door turns opaque upon entering, for example, and an open-plan kitchen can vanish when guests are over.
One customer in Bel Air, California, spent $40,000 to install switchable glass throughout his home, according to The Wall Street Journal, including turning a picture window into a projection screen that could be viewed from an outdoor living room.
Thomas Lee of Glass Apps says an average-size piece of glass uses up about as much electricity as an alarm clock. But the price is $180 to $190 a square foot. The product has a limitation. Its clear glass sometimes has a slight haze.
The large exterior walls of a condominium tower in Miami are made of three layers of glass that control heat and deaden noise. Two glass panels sandwich low-emissivity (Low E) coating, a metallic-based layer that blocks UV light, according to developer Consultatio Real Estate.
The 6 by 10 foot, extra wide panels are designed to preserve waterfront views. The cost was about $21.90 a square foot.
For a bathroom mirror that can also be a TV screen, the MirrorVue TV is built onto coated, two-way glass that acts like a TV screen but acts like a mirror when it’s off. The MirrorVue costs from $999 to $20,000 depending on the size and custom options, such as frames, lighting and etching on TV models.