So where could curtains go from here?
Patterns and styles will undoubtedly continue to change with fashions of the time.
Silent Gliss has developed the Autoglide 5100 electric curtain track to be fast and virtually silent, so there's not much further the mechanics of actually moving curtains can develop. Some systems like the Somfy Irismo WF45 RTS are battery powered, and are therefor perfect for places it's hard to get mains power to, but until someone develops an alternative to an electric motor, the physical curtain tracks are unlikely to be changing for a while.
Control systems for electric curtains are likely to continue developing as home automation technology becomes more prevalent, cheaper and easier to access.
For example, Silent Gliss has the Move Server for the 5600 electric curtain track which allows you to operate your curtains from a Silent Gliss App, but this is currently quite an expensive option.
As of early 2022, it is rumoured that Silent Gliss are working on a much cheaper control system that's compatible with the 5100 Autoglide series that will allow more generic home automation, such as integration with Google Hub and Amazon's Alexa.
Some people have already achieved this with home-brew automation and custom wiring, but it is a very specialist hobby that's not achievable for most people.
Having Google or Amazon linked to your curtains allows you to literally say, "OK Google, close the living room curtains", and they operate.
Let's look further into the future and try to predict what may become of curtains.
There is a technology that employs something called electrochromic glass, where an electric current is applied to a seemingly transparent window and it instantly becomes dark and opaque.
This has actually been around since the 80s and been part of "homes of the future" displays since then.
Some top-end hotel bathrooms employ this technology to make the shower screen opaque for privacy when it's occupied.
See How do electrochromic windows work?
While this technology is indeed futuristic, it is currently still quite expensive to install, and having nothing but glass gives a cold, clinical impression. This is another reminder that modern fabric curtains also lend a certain design characteristic to a room… something that people may not want to lose, regardless of other available technologies.
The future of fabrics
In the current state of curtains, we listed some of the properties offered by modern fabrics. Looking forward to the future, we could see these properties being improved.
Perhaps just being thermally insulated could transition to becoming actually heated. Windows lose heat from your home which is why radiators are normally placed underneath them. What if the fabric of your curtains themselves were heated?
Perhaps air-flow technology could also see your curtains act as an active filtration system, catching pollen and any pollutants at the point of entry through the windows?
In summary, innovation isn't dead yet in the world of curtains. They've been around for several centuries already and there's no sign of them going away any time soon.
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