Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Automatic doors are not to be toyed with.

(photo @ doors-sliding.com)


When I was about 5 years old, I was walking into a grocery store with my dad when we encountered two sliding glass doors that did not have any handles.  Before my tiny brain could process a reason for why we were still walking towards an impending collision, my father thrust out his hand and in a loud, dramatic voice bellowed:

"OPEN!"

The doors heeded his command and  magically parted for us to enter the supermarket.  I was stunned.  My father had never told me about his godlike powers before, so naturally, I flipped out.

"OH WOW!!!  DAD...HOW DID YOU DO THAT?  CAN YOU TEACH ME???"  I screamed with excitement.  My father allowed me to believe he was a sorcerer for the rest of the trip, but when we got home, he finally relented (most likely due to my incessant begging that he teach me the ways of telekinesis).


                                                    recyclingewaste
If he hadn't, my next step would have been to "accidentally" fall into this


He explained to me that the door was connected to a sensor that detected when someone got near the door.  Once someone was close enough, the sensor would send a message to the doors so that they would open.

Despite the fact that this explanation still had a bit of a mythical quality, it lacked the excitement of I had before when believing that our family bloodline was imbued with mutant powers.  Still, I was intrigued.  If the doors were opened or closed due to a sensor, than there must be a way to trick that sensor so that it didn't work properly.

Now I'm not sure why I instantly went with "let's figure out how to make the system fail," but anyone that has any experience being an adolescent male will understand this way of thinking.  If we discover that something is supposed to work based off of an exploitable system, then we must find a way to bring it down.


                                                        cryptome.org
Some people never grow out of this phase.


From that day forward, I would always hope for a chance to fool the doors by seeing if I could sneak up on it or run fast enough to make the sensor unable to open them when I was close.  These opportunities were few and far between:  They relied upon my dad and I both going to the grocery store and him forgetting to tell me to stop acting like an idiot and get inside the store.

One day, however, my father made the terrible mistake of allowing me to stand outside while he ran in to get a few things.  By this point I was 11 years old, so he probably he thought that I was mature enough to stand outside of a supermarket without doing something completely idiotic.


He thought wrong.


                                     releaf.co
If someone had tried to put this in front of my house, I wouldn't have stopped them


I took full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to have unbridled access to the automatic door without much interference; it was the middle of the day, there were hardly any shoppers, and as I said before, my father was inside.  After a few futile attempts using my old hit and run methods from before, I looked down and noticed that the door would open whenever my feet crossed over a certain point.  Unlike the current overhead automatic door sensors (that you see in the first picture), this one had a wire that ran under the floor mat that lead into the entryway.

"That's it!"  I thought.  "If I can just jump over the wire that's right here, I can finally fool the sensor so that the doors won't open."

This is the point where my thought process ended and action began.  I gave no regard to the consequences of what may happen once I had accomplished my goal.  All I cared about was finally showing that I could defeat the obstacle/challenge that I had decided was mine to overcome.


                                                    worldcupblog
No one told me that this was a roundabout


I backed up, got a running start, and hurled myself through the air like a rabid gazelle.  Sure enough, the sensor for the door did not activate, just as I had predicted.  Immediately after realizing my incredible accomplishment, I was met with a dose of harsh reality in the form of two very hard and closed glass doors.

I slammed into them with all the unbridled force and reckless abandon I'd had while leaping over the sensor's grasp.  The door frame rattled with a loud thud and repelled me back onto the pavement.  The door the slowly opened and then closed, mocking me as I laid on the ground in agony and shame.




By the time my father had walked back outside, I had picked myself back up off the ground, but my pride and dignity was still embedded inside of a glass door on a metal frame.

I learned 2 very important lessons that day:

1.  Sometimes it's best to think about the results of your actions before you take them.
2.  The sensor can totally be fooled.    


And it's totally not worth it.


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