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Opaque air curtains

No more fiddly door handles
  (+4, -3)
(+4, -3)
  [vote for,

Doors are ancient, fiddly and cumbersome inventions. With the exception of automatic doors they require some form of effort to work, and cannot be opened easily with full hands. Automatic doors, however, require a lot of space to be implemented, and due to their cost are usually only added to large doorways. This makes them unsuitable for places such as offices or schools, where space may be restricted.

Air curtains are a perfect substitute - they heat (or cool), do not require a lot of space to implement and separate rooms or areas successfully. However, they're transparent. What's needed is some form of opaque or dark harmless gas that would be passed from the top of a doorway into a grate at the bottom, and cycled back to the top again through the door-frame/wall. This gas would have to be generated in the unit (to replace that lost when one walks through the stream), and would have to diffuse with little effect on the atmosphere.

Something such as the smoke used in discos would work for this, as it would diffuse quickly, and be easy to generate in large enough amounts (however, I'm no chemist, so there may be more suitable substances out there). The movement of the air would give most of the noise-cancelling effects of an ordinary door, and it would even be possible to see if someone had walked through recently, due to the gas displaced.

The gas generation unit would need refilling, but the length of time it will last is dependant on the gas.

The only drawback is locking, and another door would be required for this. As such this solution is probably best suited to internal doors only, such as in an office or school, where the external ones can be locked. (I did think about running chlorine gas through it as a locking mechanism, but thought this a little extreme - and illegal ;-) )

In addition to this ease-of-use, they could be deactivated to provide a doorway, no door-stops or self-closing mechanisms required.

Extreme Tomato, Apr 24 2005

Who left the door open? http://hometown.aol...Alaska/Fogwall1.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 25 2005]

Available in a range of stylelessnesses http://www.qgiftson...-Bead%20Curtain.JPG
[calum, Apr 25 2005, last modified Nov 10 2005]

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       the locking device could be beef curtain sections.
benfrost, Apr 24 2005

       "The only drawback is ..., " hey, wait a minute here, what about the power consumption?   

       Sure, this'd certainly be less fiddly than a door handle.   

       Maybe you'd need to use rice or confetti instead of the mysterious opaque gas.
bristolz, Apr 25 2005

       Peeps & heaps of missing sheep.
Why and what the bleep?
Red Dawn, brain's gone
Please we don't need vacuumed.
Technology has passed me by
even though it was I
who helped to make it.
I really don't understand
any of your reprimands
Perhaps WINBI winbi winbi?
and then magic, please correct me.
Zimmy, Apr 25 2005

       baked they already have air doors you must have never been to price club in the summer time
10clock, Apr 25 2005

       Correction as requested [Zimmy]: it's WIBNI.
david_scothern, Apr 25 2005

       won't the air just blow out the door and make it like no door plus a fan?
sninctown, Nov 02 2005

       You want bead curtains. You could make them out of dense foam beads to help with noise cancellation, since you seem concerned that someone will hear what you are doing in there.   

       Oh, I guess [calum] thought of the same thing. Months ago.
bungston, Nov 02 2005

       [bristolz] I'm laughin' over here at the thought of a perpetual stream of rice pouring down my door jam.   

       ...how 'bout a big block of gelatin you could just squeeze your way through as it closes up behind you?
Zuzu, Nov 03 2005

       Locking could be done with a poison gas. You put the cat out at night, "lock" the door and a suitable amount of cyanide gets added to the mix. We'd need to project a skull and crossbones onto the gas to warn potential breakers-in   

       What if the cat wants to come back in? Gas catflap? Maybe needs more work.
Loafalot, Nov 03 2005


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