The University of Austin researchers have created a new kind of smart plastic that can change its tint through an electric current, and when applied to windows can help save on heating and cooling bills reports Popular Mechanics's Avery Thompson. The flexible plastic can turn the windows of a home into ones that lighten or darken with the sunlight (when paired with a sunlight sensor).

Other types of electrochromic plastic do exist, but are very bulky and require high temperatures to manufacture. This new process produces a thin, flexible material without resorting to high temperatures. The new material is also twice as energy-efficient.

The result is a flexible, low-cost plastic sheet that can be applied to any window or any surface, no matter what the shape of the surface is. These sheets can then control the amount of sunlight entering the building, keeping rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

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