By David Ponce
A window that turns into a mirror at the flick of a switch. Sounds simple enough, yet the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST) in Japan is making it sound as though it recently invented the thing. Well, we imagine they did, because we can’t prove otherwise, but damn, it just seems like such a simple thing, it ought to have already been done ages ago. Well, whatever. There you have it.
By using a thin film of magnesium-titanium alloy, the company created a prototype mirror window with the size of 60 ? 70 cm, and were able to switch it back and forth between reflective and transparent states. At the moment, the technology is ages away from being commercialized, as it still faces some hurdles. For instance, AIST is working on improving degradation of the material as a result of several cycles of switching. They are also working on simpler methods of application; as it is right now the making of the mirror requires a somewhat complicated process that can’t easily be sent into the marketplace.
While we’re thinking of a couple of hilarious pranks this sort of thing could amuse us with, AIST has more noble goals in mind, such as energy preservation in large buildings. They could also be used in car windows, to keep the vehicles cooler during hot summer months.