It's curtains for curtains: Digital shades go opaque on command

Sonte Film window coverings made from a special material that responds to electric current can go opaque or clear at the bidding of a smartphone app.

Sonte Film
This illustrates the Sonte Film both off and on. Sonte

An automated home where everything from the lights to the refrigerator can be controlled by a smartphone is still a distant dream for most of us. You may have an opportunity get a high-tech jump on the neighbors if the Sonte Film Wi-Fi digital shades Kickstarter project comes to fruition.

Sonte Film reacts to an electric current and can turn from opaque to clear and back again almost instantaneously. The film can be connected to Wi-Fi so that an app for both Android and iOS can let users control the opacity.

Installation is fairly straightforward. You start by cutting the film to size. The film hangs onto the window with electrostatic cling. Attach a conducting clip, plug the shade into a Wi-Fi transformer, and get ready to block out the light on demand. One of the neat side effects of having the Sonte Film on the opaque setting is that it can be used as a projector screen.

Outfitting your home with window coverings that wouldn't look out of place in a science fiction movie isn't cheap. The early-bird price for a 3-foot square kit that includes a Wi-Fi transformer is $219. If you're looking to cover more ground, one of the top pledges is $1,494 for 86 square feet of material, two Wi-Fi transformers, and four connectors and cables. The Sonte film can be daisy-chained to cover a series of windows.

Once you've seen the Sonte Film prototype in action, it's hard to look at your boring old cloth curtains and not imagine a life with something much sleeker that takes smartphone commands.

The high initial price of the Sonte Film means not everyone on your block is going to be an early adopter, but here's hoping this goes into production so the price can come down and make the tech more widely available.

 

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