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Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:23 pm PT (03:23 pm ET)

Sonte's smart 'digital shades' will let iPhone users control natural light levels

Owners of Apple's iPhone and iPad will be getting yet another home automation option this fall, as Sonte Film is preparing to roll out a digital shade technology that allows users to adjust the level of light getting in through their home's windows by using just an app.



Sonte's digital shades are a smart film that is applied to a window or any other glass surface. By running a current through the film, users can make it alternate between transparent and opaque.

Sonte designed the film to be user-installable, and it has an adhesive on one side that allows it to stick to a surface. Users measure the area of the window they wish to cover, cut the smart film to the necessary size, and stick it to the surface they wish to cover. From there a prototype clip attaches to each separate segment of film, allowing users to daisy chain sections for simultaneous operation.

Users can then control the opacity of the film with an app that the company has built for both iOS and Android devices. The whole system works via Wi-Fi transmission.



The company also notes that the resulting non-transparent surface is then opaque enough to serve as a projector screen suitable for game playing and movie watching. The switch from transparent to translucent takes place in less than one second, and the film itself is 0.4mm thick.

Sonte says the film absorbs more than 85 percent of ultraviolet radiation. It also reflects more than 70 percent of infrared radiation.

When Sonte's smart film launches later this year, the film sections will retail at $260 for a 1x1 meter segment. The Wi-Fi transmitter will cost $300. The group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $200,000 to expand their production facilities. Early supporters of the initiative will receive discounts on the film, daisy chain packs, and Wi-Fi transmitters.