VIDEO: Boeing 787 electrochromic windows in action

I’m working on a blog about the new electric-powered window shades now flying - much to the thrill of passengers – in the bathrooms of Qantas’ Airbus A380 aircraft. So keep an eye out for that.

In my research, however, I spotted this new video of the Boeing 787 electrochromic windows in action. It was taken at the Future of Flight Museum in Everett.

Is it me or do the windows appear to be switching from light to dark and vice versa a little quicker than previously thought? Or is the simulation simply faster than reality?


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7 Responses to VIDEO: Boeing 787 electrochromic windows in action

  1. Ted April 6, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    Hi Mary,

    As to your questions at the end of this blog, I watched the video you provided and that’s definitely a simulation. It’s a video taken inside a partial Dreamliner 787 mockup, so they just put in a simulated window, not a real one. Boeing’s own V.P. of marketing has a blog on the Dreamliner site with a video of the 787 that features their EC windows. Here’s the link.

    You’ll see in the video that they have a “counter” which shows that it takes 100 seconds, and that’s just one way. To go from clear to dark and back to clear would be 200 seconds. Notice all the comments below that Boeing blog about the length of time, and how people didn’t like it.

    So in the video from the Flight Museum in Everett showing the 787 mockup they obviously sped up the cycle time. They did so by using a computer simulation of an EC window controlled by a touch screen.That way people could see the dark and clear states with out having to wait so long. If they had let it run the whole 100 seconds, people would probably walk away from it, just like they were doing at one of the big air shows (think it was the NBAA), where the 787 EC windows were on display. People thought the windows weren’t working and walked away.

  2. alex April 7, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    200 seconds is almost 3.5 minutes! I wonder if any of Boeing customers will buy these windows.

  3. Jeff May 20, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    The EC technology behind this window is being licensed from the University of Washington. I have seen the real demo and it takes less that a second to change states, light to dark and vice versus.

  4. Mary Kirby May 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi Jeff,
    Do you have a link? I’d love to post it on the blog!

  5. Ted May 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Hi Mary,

    Jeff won’t be able to provide you with a link because electrochromic windows that switch in one second don’t exist. The technology he’s referring to from the University of Washington has only been applied to experimental sunglasses, and is still in the R&D phase. EC tech only works well on small surfaces such as the rear view mirrors in cars that are made by Gentex. U of W is working with their tech on sunglasses.

    Here’s the link to an article about the prototype sunglasses. Perhaps Jeff thought this tech could be applied to architectural windows and thus said the switching time was one second. This U of W tech is being worked on by a professor his doctoral student.

    The Gentex-PPG electrochromic shades that have been promised for the Drealiner windows still take over 100 seconds to switch, and this technology has been worked on for years by those two companies. It’s not some science lab project like U of W’s. PPG-Gentex has a long way to go to make EC work on large surfaces with fast switching times, and U of W’s tech is far behind them in R & D.

    Here’s the link:

  6. Ted May 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi again,

    I may have been unclear in one of my sentences in my previous comment: ” EC tech only works well on small surfaces such as the rear view mirrors in cars that are made by Gentex. U of W is working with their tech on sunglasses.”

    What I meant in that last sentence is that U of W is working with their own technology and didn’t mean to imply they were using the Gentex/PPG tech.

    Jeff is mistaken when he say’s “The EC technology behind this window is being licensed from the University of Washington.” The 787 window you wrote about in this article is based on PPG’s tech and has absolutely nothing to do with this experimental technology from the U of Washington.

    Whereas SPD tech is flying in some Qantas A380′s as we speak, there are no electrochromic windows flying in Boeing’s 787s. The U of W electrochromic tech is still in the lab and is only being worked on for sunglasses(very small surface areas).

    Hope this clears things up.

  7. Ted June 4, 2009 at 12:47 am #

    Hi Mary,

    Did you notice that the “hit and run” poster named Jeff hasn’t bothered to reply to my comments? It’s because he got caught red-handed and can’t possibly refute what I said. The UW technology is small time stuff in a lab and he knows that. Meanwhile PPG/Gentex is still dealing with a 100 second switching time, and SPD switches in 1-2 seconds.

    Perhaps when you’re at the Paris Air Show you can tour the A380 and see if the SPD E-Shades are being used. You know, the same ones that the Qantas A380 used in their first class lavatories. I think that Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will end up switching over to the SPD E-Shade…when the oft-delayed model finally gets off the ground.

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