A different kind of window

Double-glazed windows pack more energy than regular glass.

double glazed windows 521 (photo credit: Pythagoras)
double glazed windows 521
(photo credit: Pythagoras)
Can a window be more than just a way of letting in sunlight? The people at Pythagoras Solar (www.pythagoras-solar.com) think so.
Udi Paret, VP of Business Development and Marketing at Pythagoras, tells The Jerusalem Report what makes Pythagoras’s Photovoltaic Glass Unit (PVGU) unique is what is lodged in the cavity between the two sheets of glass that comprise its double-glazed window. “Our intellectual property, in the form of a subassembly of optical devices combined with standard monocrystal photovoltaic cells, resides in this cavity,” says Paret.
The prisms that Pythagoras places between the glass sheets produce electricity by reflecting direct sunlight onto photovoltaic cells, making use of the same technology as solar panels. The electricity produced by the system can then be used inside the building for just about anything. One day, a building might be able to produce all the energy it needs simply by soaking up the sunlight hitting its windows.
“In one system you simultaneously get the benefits of energy efficiency and energy generation, which makes the economics of this solution very attractive,” Paret explains.
These economic benefits mean that the return on investment is between three to five years for a project located in the United States, according to Pythagoras’s estimates.
They also claim that their technology produces four times the amount of electricity than regular thin film placed over traditional glass.
The ability to manipulate the light as it hits the window results in a number of benefits.
“By having all the direct sunlight manipulated and directed on the photovoltaic cell we are maximizing the energy yield but, at the same time, we are creating complete shading behind the system,” says Paret.
The splitting of sunlight beams between direct light that is diverted to produce electricity and indirect sunlight that is allowed into the building results in light that is more pleasing to the eye, while reducing the amount of heat. This reduces the need for indoor climate control, which can be a major expense, especially in warm countries during the summer months.
“This makes the work environment behind our glass extremely comfortable, both from a lighting perspective and a climate perspective,” says Paret. “The glass creates a very effective thermal barrier affecting the climate inside the building. All this together accounts for a significant reduction in the energy footprint of the building.”
The PVGU technology can be fitted into any window size and can be tailor-made for use in new projects or buildings undergoing renovation.
Prof. David Faiman of Ben-Gurion University tells The Report that generally speaking most companies producing heat-deflecting and lightreducing windows tend to focus on the warmer and sunnier seasons.
“The big problem with any kind of smart window is to make it smart at all times of the year,” says Faiman. “If you are going to produce something that is going to limit the amount of light that comes into the room that’s wonderful in summertime, but it is not an asset in winter, when you want as much sunshine as possible to come in, otherwise you need to use more heating.”
Smelling cancer
The idea that a physician can diagnose a patient simply by smelling their breath has been around since the time of Hippocrates, of the Hippocratic Oath fame.
Now scientists at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, under the leadership of Prof. Hossam Haick, are working on perfecting a “nano artificial nose” that can detect whether a person is suffering from cancer by analyzing his or her breath.
The NA-NOSE uses a number of cross-reactive sensors that analyzes the molecules in exhaled air, showing if the patient is healthy or has lung cancer. The main goal behind its development, begun in 2007, was to develop a more accurate way of detecting early-stage cancer and reduce the number of patients needing a more expensive and invasive biopsy.
According to a recent study presented at the 3rd European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva, the NA-NOSE was 88 percent accurate in distinguishing between benign and malignant nodules. The test correctly identified 86 percent of the malignant nodules and 93 percent of the benign nodules.
While the NA-NOSE was developed for medical purposes, its system, which consists of a handheld device for the patient to breathe into, a small chamber to hold the sample and a sensor to analyze the sample, can be used for other purposes, such as homeland security and environmental monitoring.
Gaming that emotion
Computer and console gaming has come a long way since the TAC 2 joystick, with the introduction of Nintendo’s Wii controls, in which you hold a unit in each hand and the movement of the hands controls what happens in the game.
In recent years that evolution has continued with the release of Microsoft Kinect which, by using motion censoring technology, converts a person’s entire body movements into game actions, making a controlling device superfluous.
Israeli start-up eMotion Technologies (www.emotion-platform.com/en-us/home.aspx) is now working on developing a way for a player’s emotions to impact the gaming experience. The goal is to develop a device – at the moment the start-up is using a bracelet – that will measure and analyze a gamer’s emotional state in real time and update the game on the player’s level of immersion in the action. The data can then be used by the game to adjust the game’s level difficulty, making the experience fit better with the gamer’s skills.
eMotion says that the device is compatible with all current consoles and games.