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Ford Patents a Crazy New Feature for a Vehicle's Windows, It Will Blow You Away
Ford is on a roll filing patents for all sorts of crazy stuff, showing that creativity isn’t dead with traditional carmakers. The latest is a patent for a switchable glass system that takes the electro-chromatic glass to the next level.

Ford Patents a Crazy New Feature for a Vehicle's Windows, It Will Blow You Away

Ford filed a patent for a “switchable glass structure”Ford filed a patent for a “switchable glass structure”The Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVsThe Lincoln Star Concept highlights the design language of upcoming Lincoln EVs
My father was a dreamer, but he was also an achiever. He taught me that if you’re a dreamer, you should always dream big, even impossibly big. Your mind and a little bit of luck will do the rest. Ford is taking the same approach, judging by the number (and scope) of the patents it filed in the past months. Like any patent, they may not translate into finished products anytime soon, but put your mind to it, and you’d be amazed one day.

We’ve seen Ford recently patenting bizarre all-wheel-steering features that will enhance future electric off-road vehicles like trucks and SUVs. This is probably a sane feature, just like the drift mode that everybody wants back in Ford’s sports cars. But using augmented reality to drive the vehicle in poor visibility? It could work, but so is automated driving.

Another dream is using the car’s windows as a giant microphone that would take vocal instruction from outside the vehicle. Do you see this coming anytime soon? Or the need for it? Who knows? Speaking of windows, Ford is also one of the pioneers of electrically defrosting windshields that are now quite common in cars worldwide. Some dreams do come true.

Recently, Ford filed a new patent related to windows changing transparency at the touch of the button. If you think of electro-chromatic glass that is already making strides in luxury vehicles, you might be close, but not quite. Ford’s patent describes “a switchable glass structure supported within a vehicle and comprised of a plurality of layers.” Like the electro-chromatic glass, the electricity turns the switchable glass structure from opaque to transparent.

But (and it’s a big but) at least one of the plurality of layers will be marked to identify as a user input area. This has a capacity sensor that allows users to change the switchable glass structure between opaque and transparent modes. This sounds like a glorified touch-sensitive switch for the electro-chromatic glass, but there’s more. The patent goes very deep, naming the specific materials used, for instance, the Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) for the marked layer, and even the colors, e.g., white.

Ford’s patent goes further and says that the switchable glass can be divided into “a plurality of discrete glass panels.” Each has its own capacitive switch, allowing it to be turned opaque or transparent independently of the others. The many layers of the “apparatus” will also work independently. The system comprises an automatic system to detect the sunlight and outside temperature to activate the required number of layers to protect the occupants from sunlight.

If you think this is too much to fathom, there is more. Ford wants the system to recognize when the interior of the car is lit while the outside is dark and make the windows opaque to prevent outside people see inside the vehicle. Or turn the windows opaque when there are people outside the car using the external camera or even detecting other people’s phone signals to turn the glass opaque.

According to the patent filing, the switchable glass could be used for the side windows and the panoramic roof. Being so detailed, we assume this patent has a chance to make it onto a production vehicle rather soon. We certainly see how it could be helpful to have this sort of smart privacy glass on your car.

 
 
 
 
 

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