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UTokyo unfolds the 'Future Window' dream
A 'Future Window' that may be realised in the future, allowing people to look out from their basements (image). Special nanoparticles are expected to lead to its realisation.
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UTokyo unfolds the 'Future Window' dream
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Aug 05, 2023

In a remarkable collaboration between design and science, researchers at The University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) are bringing a vision of the future to life. DLX Design Lab, which operates within the IIS, integrates science, technology, and design to illuminate the immense potential of scientific advancements for the general public.

As part of the Treasure Hunting Project-an initiative to highlight the intrinsic value and vast potential of scientific research-DLX Design Lab joined forces with the Tatsuma Laboratory at IIS. The outcome of this partnership is a captivating video that casts a spotlight on cutting-edge 'metamaterials'.

The video envisions a concept named the 'Future Window'. This transformative idea promises a window that allows residents of underground spaces, such as basements, to view the outdoors as if they were above ground. Central to this vision are nanoscale particles, specifically crafted to realize this breakthrough.

These aren't just any particles; they have unique properties. Thanks to the ongoing work at Tatsuma Lab, these special particles are grown using light through an innovative chemical method. The video illustrates the concept by using a model, demonstrating that when these nanoparticles are skillfully created and aligned, they have the potential to manipulate light as desired.

But the journey to the 'Future Window' is intricate. The roadmap, co-designed by DLX Design Lab and Tatsuma Lab, commences with the particle creation process. From there, they need to be strategically arranged in planes and then taken to a more complex level of three-dimensional arrangement.

The applications of the 'Future Window' are predicted to be vast. Imagine solar panels that absorb sunlight without any reflective loss or translucent architectural structures like walls and columns that selectively permit specific colours of light.

More intriguingly, the 'Future Window' may one day transmit not just colours but also heat. This is not about a digital representation or an LCD display-it's about directly viewing the external world. The sunlight would genuinely filter through, casting genuine shadows, allowing people to genuinely feel the sun's warmth.

While the video paints a vivid picture of what the future may hold, it's essential to note that the 'Future Window' remains, for now, a concept-grounded more in the world of imaginative fiction than current reality. Yet, by articulating a tangible image of the future, researchers can clearly see the challenges they must overcome to turn this vision into a reality.

The Treasure Hunting Project has effectively showcased the myriad research outcomes of the IIS. By hosting exhibitions and workshops, it bridges the gap between complex scientific endeavors and the broader public's understanding. Conveying research, especially when it concerns intangibles like nanomaterials and molecules or concepts still far from realization, can be a challenge. However, the use of dynamic imagery and videos is proving to be an invaluable tool in making intricate research more accessible and comprehensible.

In their quest to share the "treasures" of human achievement, DLX Design Lab is unwavering in their commitment. They plan to continually harness diverse mediums, including videos like these, to elucidate the myriad marvels that scientific research has to offer to society.

Related Links
Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

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