A Day Made of Glass

What is it?

A short film released a few years ago by Corning, speculating on how a day in the near future may look, if it can be augmented by the interactive capabilities of high-tech glass. Corning is the manufacturer behind Gorilla Glass, the high-durability glass that fronts approximately 600 million iPhones, iPads and other digital devices.

What do we think?

The film is intended to suggest future possibilities of interactive glass, all of which are mesmerising. However even more exciting is the realisation that within the glossy, futuristic world proposed by Corning are a whole array of ideas and technologies that already exist.

What follows below is a chronological list of those technologies, tied to the time code of A Day Made of Glass.

0:21 Photosensitive glass is used by Transitions for eyewear that automatically adjusts its opacity to suit the ambient lighting conditions. Quantum Glass manufacture privacy glass that can be switched between clear and frosted states via the application of an electrical current.

0:27 Sony Bravia LCD televisions use LED backlighting to achieve screens less than 30mm thick.

1:09 Induction cooktops by Fisher & Paykel use magnetic pulses to heat saucepans, permitting the instant temperature control of a gas cooktop. Other than transferred heat from the saucepan back to the cooktop, the glass surface does not heat up while cooking.

1:24 The electronic interface on Fisher & Paykel refrigerators permits fine control of internal temperature settings, including a rapid chill function for bottles of beer.

1:39 The iPhone introduced the world to smartphones dominated by a glass-fronted screen. The traditional hardware buttons of old phones are replaced by a touch-sensitive screen with adaptable software keyboards that reconfigure themselves to suit the application.

1:49 The iPhone used to sync with its parent computer only when the two devices came into close proximity. With the advent of iCloud and full integration across computing, tablet, television and smartphone devices, all are synched continuously and seamlessly.

2:07 Audi vehicles come with Comfort Key technology that permits keyless entry and engine ignition. If this technology has not yet been further adapted to permit automatic driver recognition and preferences configuration, it can’t be far off.

2:12 Garmin produces devices that utilise various satellite navigation capabilities for automotive, fitness, hiking, marine and aviation applications.

2:25 The Maybach range of limousines offers an electrotransparent glass roof that incorporates photovoltaic cells and an inner glass layer that can be electronically darkened.

2:36 Though primitive, notification screens populate the Citylink, Eastlink and freeway routes, informing drivers of predicted travel times, collisions and scheduled roadworks.

2:46 Yarra Trams’ tramTRACKER is an iPhone app and website that uses realtime positioning technology in each tram to predict the arrival times of the next three trams at any stop within their network.

3:25 Digital Interactive Table produces a horizontal work surface with multitouch-sensitive screen. The technology is in its infancy, though is becoming more advanced and affordable all the time.

4:02 Location-based services in airports and cinemas push advertising and notifications to customers’ smartphones upon entry.

4:12 The ongoing Prada In-store Technology project by OMA explores active technological applications in the flagship New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco stores. Applications include mirrors in change rooms that show customers video feedback from multiple angles; interactive displays that provide information on garments; and screens embedded into the fabric of the store that play branding, advertising and sales content.

4:30 Samsung are rumoured to be releasing the Galaxy Skin later this year, a smartphone that incorporates a flexible LED screen into its design.

5:01 3D projections may be a while off production, but many new televisions, including the Sony Bravia, come 3D-enabled and are capable of showing the same films produced for 3D cinema.

5:09 e-Book readers like the iPad and Kindle may not yet have flexible screens, though already they are to the book industry what the iPod was to the music industry: an entire library on your bedside table.

The future is closer than we think.

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