What if windows were not solid? A research team at the University of Toronto has developed a window prototype that uses a thin layer of liquid pigment between two glass panes to affect how much sunlight gets through.

The scientists were inspired by the multilayered skin of organisms such as squid. Each of these layers contains specialised organs that work together to protect the animals from sunlight and other external factors. 

The objective of the prototype is to optimise the wavelength, intensity and dispersion of light transmitted through windows. In doing so, it could offer much greater control than existing technologies while keeping costs low. 

“Buildings use a ton of energy to heat, cool and illuminate the spaces inside them,” said Raphael Kay, one of the scientists involved in the research. 

“If we can strategically control the amount, type and direction of solar energy that enters our buildings, we can massively reduce the amount of work that...