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# Moveable windows

"Just move the window over here - I can't see a thing!"
 (+6) [vote for, against]

Imagine a wall built out of two sheets of glass. The glass is polarised and the polarisations of the two sheets are set at 90 degrees relative to each other, such that the wall as a whole is opaque. Now, the space between the two sheets of glass is full of water. In the water floats a neutrally buoyant window frame. The window is glazed with glass which rotates the polarisation of light by 90 degrees so that the window appears transparent.

You could let the window float around, or if the frame is made from steel, control its position with magnets.

For privacy, just move two windows into the same area of 'wall' - the two windows will cancel each other out.
 — hippo, Jun 08 2004

http://library.thin...ter10.htm?tqskip1=1 http://library.thin...ter10.htm?tqskip1=1

Archive http://web.archive....ry/Home_3a_20Window
(The tooltip showing the votes on this idea shows +25) [hippo, Jun 18 2008]

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Can you rotate the polarization of light? I thought all you could do was filter out certain directions and allow other directions to pass through... bun if you convince me it works
 — luecke, Jun 08 2004

 //When linearly polarized light goes through certain liquid crystal materials the direction of polarization can be rotated. Even more important, an applied voltage can change the rotation of the liquid crystals and also change the rotation of the direction of polarization of the light. What this means is that two linear polarizers can be placed so that no light passes through them. Then a liquid crystal can be placed between these polarizers so that a voltage can rotate the molecules of the liquid crystal and so rotate the direction of polarization of the light and allow it to pass through the second polarizer producing a spot of light or pixel on the screen. //

from some website... so the window will be all liquid crystal, thats pretty expensive nowadays. However, the window could be shut off, and the room would be all opaque, great for sleeping in. YES!!! And, I think the applications are farther than just this so, BUN!
 — daseva, Jun 08 2004

[luecke] Oddly enough, sugars rotate the plane of polarisation of light (see link). The things you learn here...
 — hippo, Jun 08 2004

Damn, I forgot. In physical chemistry we measured the rate of an enzymatic reaction that converts sucrose to fructose by measuring the angle of polarization, the two different sugars bend light differently, thus the ability to measure reaction progress. possibly throw a sugar solution between the panes and eject enzymes where necessary for transparency? You could, in effect, turn the entire wall into a window...
 — daseva, Jun 08 2004

Doh! (slaps forehead) … It’s all coming back to me now. I remember discussing optical rotation by a chiral compound in my orgo classes... As promised, (+)
 — luecke, Jun 08 2004

Funny how that shit just gets buried in your mind...
 — daseva, Jun 08 2004

I like the magnet idea better. You can fill the gap between the panes with Argon for better insulation. If you make the tiles smaller (1ft^2?) it would be easy to navigate between spacers that hold the distance of the panes. You can also play games and/or set up figures by moving multiple tiles into the right position.
 — kbecker, Jun 08 2004

 Nice. Too bad about the water between the glass conducting heat so well, and making this impossible anywhere it gets cold.

But, anyway, I want this computer controlled, so I can control where the sun hits our interior, avoiding photos and paintings, and adjustable for better warm spots in which to sit, or just the opposite.
 — oxen crossing, Jun 09 2004

Another quality, hippo idea.
 — FarmerJohn, Jun 09 2004

Clearly you are a genius. I like your windows. +
 — k_sra, Jun 09 2004

[FJ & k_sra] I am flattered

[oxen_crossing] You're making me think this should be computer controlled. There should then be a 'cat' module which causes the window to move in a slow arc across the wall throughout the day so that the sun always shines on a small patch of carpet where your cat is lying. The more expensive version of this module would come with cameras and motion detectors so that the window could track the movements of your cat over the course of the day.
 — hippo, Jun 09 2004

One problem: can't open the window... It might not matter to you, but the flaw will turn others off.
 — daseva, Jun 09 2004

This is great. Would have looked appropriate in “Minority Report” as well.
 — bristolz, Jun 09 2004

[davesa] I worried about the non-openingness of the window too. The best I could come up with was using the window position as a guide to where your airconditioning should direct it's airflow to simulate an open window.
 — hippo, Jun 10 2004

[hippo], what about dividing the wall into panels. The window can still move fluidly, but when it locks into one of the panels, the square section can be slightly shifted and raised. In the locked position, the surroundings are shut off form the inside of the wall, so no gas leaks.
 — daseva, Jun 10 2004

Wow, this is a great idea [hippo]. You could also just have a rolled screen controlled by a motor to roll down and have an entire clear wall whenever you like.
 — Worldgineer, Jun 10 2004

It could track the sun or moon. Have windows on other walls that open.
 — bristolz, Jun 10 2004

Fantastic idea. An alternative to the water-and-neutral-buoyancy method of suspension would be to use the magnets to suspend the window. Have a window frame inside the room. If both it and the window sheet were magnetised, they would attract each other and squeeze the wall between them, producing enough friction to keep them from sliding down it. Extend castors from the underside of the window frame when you want to move it around.

If the window frame resembled a regular window frame enough, moving it around would look sooo surreal. Your guests wouldn't believe their eyes...
 — spacemoggy, Jun 10 2004

 What about glass walls and motorized shades? Don't they also block light? Well how much would this implementation cost? It's basically like building a giant aquarium. What if it leaks? The static water pressure on the bottom will be pretty high if you have high walls. What about insulation? A glass window is already pretty bad, even though it has air or a vacuum between the glass panels and obviously insulates much better than a water filled panel.

Maybe useful for a science museum though.
 — Globi, Jun 10 2004

How about just having so many fish in between the glass panels that the wall becomes transparent. the window will displace the water and the fish, and you'll have a trippy swarm of animals to stare at all day. pass the mushrooms!
 — daseva, Jun 11 2004

([davesa] - do you mean 'opaque'?)
 — hippo, Jun 14 2004

(clearly ;-)
 — Worldgineer, Jun 14 2004

This one needs rebunned :D
 — daseva, Jun 17 2008