Crazy Science Can Make Even Doors Look Cool

Total privacy at the flick of a switch

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We spent some time exploring the best doors, entryways, and portals on display at the 2014 Design & Construction Week. Far from your standard slabs of wood, the doors we encountered were not only beautiful, but technological marvels as well.

One entryway in particular stood out: the Full-Lite Design Door with electric glass, from Simpson Door Company.

Until recently, glass able to switch between translucent and transparent states was the stuff of science fiction. But since the invention of smart glass, the technology has begun to show up in various consumer-friendly forms.

Smart glass provides privacy, security, and shade at the touch of a button. We have to imagine it'd be a great addition to doctor's offices, luxury bathrooms, or even your average front door. But it's also just ridiculously entertaining. Seriously, check this out:

Just how does it work? Glad you asked! But buckle in, kids—this is going to get technical.

Electric glass is comprised of an electrochromic layer between two layers of glass electrodes. Sending an electric current through the glass causes the electrochromatic layer—a mixture of tungsten oxide and electrolytes—to absorb electrons, which makes it opaque. A secondary charge results in the layer ejecting electrons, thus becoming transparent again. Similar to e-ink displays, electric glass draws no energy, except when switching states.

The Full-Lite Design Door with electric glass is not currently available for sale, but it does offer a glimpse of one future application for this cool new technology.

Innovative Low-Tech Doors

While the electric glass door was the most impressive we saw at this year's Design & Construction Week, Simpson, Therma-Tru, and Jeld-Wen had a number of good-looking, low-tech entryways on display.

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