How do automatic doors work?
Having developed an interest in electronics, today I can deduce that these doors operate with the aid of sensors, but being intrigued as to what sensors they utilise (and how), I did some further research.
There are many different types of electronic sensors available today, designed for sensing different types of stimuli: sound, light, weight, and motion are some common examples.
These sensors are everywhere in our lives today; your smartphone contains a wealth of them, for instance, and many apps make use of this built-in functionality.
As it turns out, not all automatic doors operate the same way. Find out more.
Some open when they’re triggered by sensors that sense the weight of a passerby. Have you ever noticed how many of these sliding doors have a rubber mat placed in front of them? It’s not just to deal with muddy boots.
These mats are designed to hide weight sensors, which send a signal to the doors and tell them to open once you step on said mat. When no one is on the mat, the doors know to stay closed.
Other types of door operate using optic, or motion, sensors
These sensors are commonly mounted above the doors, or built into the top or the sides of the doorframe. When these sensors detect motion nearby, they trigger the automatic doors to open and close.
There are also different types of automatic doors:
- Sliding doors
- Swinging doors
- Revolving doors
All of which can be used in various buildings including shop fronts, offices and warehouses. Automatic Folding Doors are also a great feature in many homes.
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There are five types of motion detector sensors, all of which detect motion differently:
- Passive infrared sensors, which detect body heat
- Ultrasonic sensors, which emit pulses of ultrasonic waves that detect moving objects
- The microwave sensor, which emits microwave pulses and measures their reflection off of moving objects
- Tomographic detectors, which use radio waves to sense motion over large areas
- Proximity sensors are usually mounted above the door, and emit an electromagnetic or infrared beam. They are designed to look for changes in the field they project
The handy thing about proximity sensors is that different types can be set to react to various types of movement or materials.
For example, some sensors are designed to respond exclusively to metal, while others are designed to respond to wood or plastic targets. This makes them ideal for use with businesses operating certain types of equipment, such as forklifts. Waste management facilities, large warehouses, and factories are common places to find automatic doors with this form of sensor.
As with many feats of technology, far from ruining the magic, automatic doors only get more intriguing once you understand the mechanics behind them.