Carbon Design Group

Milgard SmartTouch Window Lock

A breakthrough system that reduces residential break-ins. By communicating its status at a glance, the SmartTouch Window Lock takes the guess work out of home security. This innovative system helped Milgard rejuvenate its product line and build a competitive advantage in the home window market. The award-winning SmartTouch Window Lock reinforced Milgard’s position as a market-leader and inspired a new, innovation and design driven product category.

Clear Communication

90% of all residential break-ins occur through windows that are accidentally left unlocked.

Building on the success of Milgard’s Positive Action Lock, Carbon’s design and research team explored the problem of home security. By stripping away unnecessary detail and integrating the lock into the window frame, the team reduced the volume and visual impact of the lock. The result is a large, easy-to-open lever whose position serves as a clear visual indication of the lock’s status. The SmartTouch Window Lock® is an exercise in clear communication.

Simply Secure

The biggest breakthrough came in the area of home security. A common flaw with current locks is that it is quite easy to close the window most of the way without actually locking it–the window may appear secure when it is not. Approximately 90% of home break-ins occur through windows that are inadvertently left unlocked. The SmartTouch lock has an actuation lever that is always up when the window is unlocked-and remains down only when the window is locked.

Carbon’s team of industrial designers and engineers created a low-profile, integrated window lock that is appropriate in a broad range of homes, meets strict performance specifications, and is easy to use. Whereas most window locks require dual action (unlock, then open / close, then lock), Smart Touch delivers a better solution: simply lift the lever to unlock and open the window-push down to close and lock. This innovation and universal design earned an Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation. The SmartTouch Window Lock was also recognized by the Industrial Designers Society of America with a 2008 IDEA award.

There is no illusion of security: the homeowner can identify whether their home is secure with a quick look around the room.

Inspiring Innovation

From the inside out, the SmartTouch system is designed to simplify home security. With a re-designed low-profile architecure and reduced design language, the system makes it easy to scan the room and check the status of every window.

According to Rick Baczuk, Director of Engineering for Milgard, “The success of this design gave us the confidence that we could design hardware internally rather than simply purchase off the shelf as we had hitherto done,” said Baczuk. “It also demonstrated we were capable of significant innovation and was instrumental in permitting us to take on additional innovation projects including both aesthetic design as well as functional design.”

As a result, Milgard continues to develop a new pipeline of projects where design and innovation drives consumer demand.

Underneath its elegant design, the SmartTouch lock is tough enough to surpass even California’s stringent forced-entry requirements.


  • Industrial Design
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Research
  • User Interaction

2008 IDEA Bronze

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