Since the big tsunami and nuclear plant disaster in Japan last year, the term, “conserve electricity” (“setsuden”) has been in the forefront of everyone’s lexicon. It’s in this context that Yuki Corp. brings us “Auto Door Zero”, a door that opens and closes automatically without electric power.

You walk up to the door like usual, step on a plate in front of the door, and voila, the door opens! You may notice that while you’re on the plate, you sink about 2 cm before the door opens. Yes, this door is powered by people’s body weight.

In Japan, no customer’s entry into a business would feel complete without an “Irasshaimase!!” coming at you from somewhere. That’s where Yuki Corp. teamed up with Brother Enterprise to power an automated voice, taking advantage of the approximately 0.3 watts of electricity (enough power to light up about 20 LEDs) that one person’s weight on the door’s plate can generate. Other than a hearty audio welcome, of course the power can be used for other purposes, such as lighting up the area in the event of a blackout, etc.

Can you imagine all the hilarity during the beta-testing? Like the version where you need a never-ending chain of people, with one person holding the door open at any one time? Or where they timed how fast people could get through the door before it slid shut again?

Auto Door Zero has been put to use in an interesting way in the new entertainment complex, “Shibuya Hikarie“, newly opened in late April. The door has been set up in the employee restroom and been rigged so that, unless an employee actually goes through the steps of using the soap dispenser and running the water, the door won’t open to let them exit! Imagine all the other mischievous (or draconian) possibilities!