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WOODBURY, N.Y. and SINDELFINGEN, Germany, Feb. 7, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After evaluating various technologies, Daimler AG selected Research Frontiers' patented SPD-Smart light-control technology for one of its latest Mercedes-Benz innovations: the MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic glass roof. The MAGIC SKY CONTROL feature allows drivers and passengers to change the tint of their car roof from dark to clear instantly with the press of a button. The first Mercedes-Benz vehicle model to offer the MAGIC SKY CONTROL glass roof as an option will be the new Mercedes-Benz SLK which debuted on January 29, 2011.
Nanoparticles suspended in a film manufactured by Hitachi Chemical Company under license from Research Frontiers allow users to control, automatically or with the push of a button, the tint from between very dark (blocking over 99.5% of visible light, which is about 50-60 times darker than a typical sunroof) to about twice as clear as an ordinary sunroof. The new Mercedes-Benz SLK will be the first large-scale series production vehicle to use Research Frontiers' patented SPD-Smart light-control technology.
Mercedes-Benz put the MAGIC SKY CONTROL SPD-SmartGlass roof through rigorous durability and performance testing in some of the most extreme conditions on earth. This included testing in the arctic cold of Scandinavia (with temperatures below -22ºF/-30ºC) and the blistering desert heat of Death Valley, California (with temperatures exceeding 122ºF/50ºC).
The MAGIC SKY CONTROL feature using SPD-Smart light-control technology allows drivers many benefits including the ability to create the open-air feeling of a roadster even when the weather does not permit one to open the roof. It also blocks over 99% of harmful UV radiation and substantially reduces heat inside the vehicle. Test data published by Mercedes-Benz shows the ability of the roof to reduce sun exposure to 1/20
th of direct exposure levels (from over 1,000 watts/square meter to less than 50 watts/square meter). When compared to conventional automotive glass, Mercedes-Benz reported that the use of SPD-SmartGlass significantly reduces the temperature inside the vehicle by up to 18ºF/10ºC. This increases passenger comfort and reduces air conditioning loads, thereby saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.
Research Frontiers holds about 500 patents and patent applications worldwide on its SPD-Smart light-control technology, and licenses it to 39 companies, including most of the world's leading automotive glass manufacturers.