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Automatic door opener

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Opening, closing, and passing through door could be a challenge for elderly people or individuals with disability. Those who are physically challenged and need to use either wheelchair, scooter, cane or walker have difficulty transitioning through doorways. This population needs some type of door control to assist them with doors. There are different modifications that could be made to the existing doors to give this population more physical independence. Installing hardware such as offset hing, swing clear, and automatic door opener are a few examples of such modifications. The main focus of this article will be on the types of the “Automatic Door Openers”. However, for more information on other types of hardware refer to another Wiki article called “Adaptive door hardware”.


Automatic Door Openers

Automatic door opener is an electronic and/or pneumatic device that can be installed on the existing doors for office or home use to automatically operate them. These systems could be used for swing doors as well sliding doors. They can be further categorized into the following subgroups.

Sensor Automatic Door

Sensor Automatic Door uses a motion-detecting sensor to open or close the door. One of the common types of motion sensors are the infrared-motion sensors which can detect the infrared energy omitted from human's body. Once someone is in front of the door, the infrared energy detected by the sensor changes. This triggers the sensor to open the door when someone approaches the door. The signal is sent to the computer unit that operates the door. Such systems however, are not that common for home use. They are normally used in offices or larger businesses.

Touch Automatic Door

Touch-type automatic door uses a wall mounted switch or panel that automatically opens the door. This type is one of the most common types of automatic door opener that is used in public places. The individual needs to press the switch or panel, which is normally installed on the wall near the door, to operate it. The button is either wired to the door, or the signal is wirelessly sent to the box installed on the door. Usually, pressing the button is not a big problem for the wheelchair, scooter, and cane users who are able to use their hand to operate their devices. However for those with more upper extremity disability, pressing the panel could still be a challenge.

Remote Control Automatic Door

A remote control automatic door uses a remote control device to automatically operate the door by press of a button. The transmitter could either be hand held, could be attached to the key-chain or installed on the wheelchair. The transmitter on the remote control communicates with the receiver which is installed on the door. Once the remote button is pressed, the door is automatically opened in order for the person to pass through the door. Some of the controllers are programmed to keep the door open for a few seconds to ease passage through the door; while the other types require the user to hold on to the button to keep the door open.

Combination Automatic Door

Multiple automatic systems could be installed on a single door in order to accommodate different group of individuals. Installation of all the automatic systems normally does not interfere with operating the door manually. Most the modified doors still can be manual operated; however, some of the systems installed on the door can cause increase the overall resistance of the door to opening and closing.