RFID Technology for Universally Accessible Doors in Public Buildings

By Sarah A. Wilson, Kenneth C. Blauth, William Riddell and Peter Mark Jansson.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

When people are living with serious disabilities, they are constantly faced with obstacles that make their lives more difficult. There are many modifications and adaptations that have been made to improve the lives of those with disabilities, but these are not always enough. The current push-button accessible door system is meant to aid those living with disabilities, but there are many people who are unable to take advantage of the technology. A survey of 103 people who work with people with disabilities found that 80% knew someone directly who did not have the ability to use the push button system. It can be difficult for people with limited mobility to reach the button that activates the door. Also, the size and restricted maneuverability of a wheelchair can make it difficult to position the wheelchair in a place where the button can be pushed while leaving room for the door to open.
Motion sensors and pressure sensors have been utilized in door systems, resulting in a door that opens whenever a person is near. However, these solutions are not ideal. Since many people do not need or wish for the door to be opened for them, existing automatic systems activate doors much more frequently than needed. As a result, the doors require significantly more robust mechanical design than a traditional accessible door requires, thus leading to increased cost. Furthermore, once opened, the door remains open longer than necessary, placing additional stress on HVAC systems.
This paper presents a design for a system that will help those with disabilities open doors to public buildings without affecting the operation of the doors when additional accessibility is not needed – a universal design that is an improvement over the currently implemented solutions. Individuals can possess a small Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag that transmits a universal code. Identification of this code will cause the accessible door to open automatically (as if the push button were activated) when the user comes within the desired proximity of the door. The system will allow schools, businesses and towns to easily adapt to the needs of the people in its community. Surveys suggesting the need for this system, design schematics, and details on how the system could be implemented on a university campus are discussed.

Keywords: Accessible Door, RFID, Universal Design

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.51-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.205MB).

Sarah A. Wilson

Undergraduate Student, Chemical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Kenneth C. Blauth

Undergraduate Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. William Riddell

Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Dr. Riddell is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rowan University. His research and teaching interests include transportation safety, mechanics and materials, and sustainability. Prior to coming to Rowan, Dr. Riddell worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Special Programs Administration, and was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in residence at the Mechanics of Materials branch at NASA Langley Research Center.

Dr. Peter Mark Jansson

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA


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