Door Iris Porthole is the Perfect Fix for Detroit Hackerspace

In order to resolve the problem of congestion at the entrance to their hackerspace, the minds at i3Detroit installed a motion-activated mechanical iris in their door’s porthole.

Grabbing the design online (which they are now hosting on their site here), the parts were laser cut out of wood, gold leaf was added for effect, and it was relatively easy to assemble. PIR sensors detect movement on both sides of the door and an FET resistor connected to an orange LED add some old-school science fiction flair. The iris is actuated by a 12V car window motor — which works just fine on the 5V power that it’s supplied with — and an Arduino filling in as a controller. Start and stop positioning required some limit switches that seem to do the trick.

Finally they laser cut acrylic plastic with the i3Detroit logo to complete the porthole modification. You can watch a video of the mechanical iris in all its glory here — but unfortunately it’s on Google+ (do people still use that??) so we can’t embed it in the post.

If you want to add this sleek idea to your home but lack a laser cutter (understandable), then you can still hack one out of some common household materials.

[via Evan’s Techie-Blog]

31 thoughts on “Door Iris Porthole is the Perfect Fix for Detroit Hackerspace

    1. I think it’s missing something.
      ‘FET resistor-connected’

      There, fixed.

      Iris porthole be awesome! :D
      Someone please steal a gif or something from stupid Google+.

      1. Thanks for the paper iris link! I’m going to try it out tonight.

        I finally got the video to load; looks great, wish the camera wasn’t so very close though. Sounds cool.

  1. Seems like a solution looking for a problem to me. It opens from motion on the outside, so it’s not to stop people from looking in. It’s supposed to open from motion on the inside too, but the article says it’s broken, so that doesn’t work. Essentially, it’s supposed to be open whenever someone’s there to look through it on either side, so why not just have a normal window?

    1. As a member of i3Detroit, I can attest that it’s absolutely a solution in search of a problem. It’s pretty, and funny, and cool, and those are solutions to an intangible problem most spaces have.

  2. Your article, as often, is really more confusing than the actual story. The iris is not designed to solve congestion at the door, it’s designed to avoid hitting people when opening the door. It’s like you didn’t even read the blog post as the author explicitly says he didn’t even try to solve the congestion problem.

    1. If someone on the other side of teh door can see that there is another person approaching, wouldn’t the first person slow down? Therefore less congestion.
      I’m amazed that you are so easily confused by this article.

      1. No they would not. You foolishly assume that people are inherently kind, courteous, and considerate, when in reality the majority of people are not.

        For proof merely observe vehicular traffic at a lane merger. If as you say someone noticed another person merging in at a rate of speed faster than they themselves are going they would slow down to allow the other driver to merge in. The reality of the situation is that merging does not happen that way. Instead of a smooth zippering of traffic there is a haphazard merging filled with many people doing what they can to maintain their position at all costs.

          1. I’m in New England.
            Canadian people do seem nicer. Half of the tourists I have met speak some kind of French, but they seem very kind. :)

            It’s an inside joke where I live to complain about their driving; they only know how to drive in a snowstorm! (JK)
            If I could vacation anywhere with no strings attached, It would probably be Canada or Alaska. They’re SO BIG! Don’t know what the best place would be.

            I need an iris porthole to snow country. :D

        1. Justin – Well here in USA our highways either have a YIELD sign or a STOP sign at the merge-points (i.e. on ramps). Our DMV (a/k/a MVD) training manuals for our American drivers invariably state that it is LAW to yield to the prevailing traffic. If caught not complying you’d face a substantial fine from our L.E.O.’s. However, like in some foreign countries, like say in Rome Italy, you ostensibly take your life in your hands in their rotaries. The same MIGHT apply in UK and PRC too. We have been adopting the rotary idea over time and I hate it. There are yield warning signs but impetuous bad-drivers still cause problems.

          So I can understand your driving analogy; you can’t legislate kindness and courtesy. However, due-diligence financial consequences kinda’ makes it difficult to be a ‘dick’ on the road. Also some of our mental-giant-hot-heads make things scary here with road-rage. So in summary: I like this IRIS window concept. 1. Because it is the Rule of Cool (sci-fi trade-craft?) 2. Restaurants had this problem with the hazardous swinging kitchen doors, adding a portal window (and using it) did cure that problem.

          So this artful fix is awesome! However, I would enhance the PIR with a momentary contact switch to over-ride the PIR when it was malfunctioning. I would also add a flashing warning lamp (directional-biased) on both sides to warn of approaching foot traffic just in case the IRIS failed or was inadvertently shut off.

          I guess the boring pedestrian idea would be to install CCTV cams on both sides of the lintel with a flat-screen LCD mounted on the door itself or also on the lintel. The PIR would control the screen’s brightness. Lintel-mounting allows the power and video cables to not be in constant movement at the door hinges. You could even make a ADOBE-FLASH Iris animation video overlay too to emulate a real iris opening and closing. Also the PIR’s motion-detection could be replaced by the CCTV’s video feed (e.g. zoned pixel detection).

          a/k/a SOTB
          (a/k/a = also known as)

          1. You are a weird dude, but although you love acronyms you can’t turn normal words INTO acronyms by randomly capitalizing them. Nor should you suddenly put slashed between the letters of acronyms for no good reason.

            Also: if you think people have trouble being dicks on the roads you must exclusively travel by train, or be drivig blindfolded you entire life.

          2. Well i live in the USA and have lived/driven in many different states on both coasts and Hawaii and I can personally attest that most people do not care much about traffic laws unless they believe they will be caught.

            As to people acting differently when on foot only I believe they are no different. A good example is when a new checkout line opens up at a store. Most people do not point out to the person before them in line that the new line is open; instead they rush over and hope that they are the first in the new line.

            As much as i like to believe that beat of people, the sad reality is that theg are not.

            My comment was not towards the hack. It was intended merely to point out that one cannot assume that people will always yield the right of way to another because the other is to get to the door first.

          3. Justin… I agree to a point. It appears we Yanks have regional social standards. Like in your mercantile queing lines,you’d see a marked difference in social graces between let’s say downtown NYC and rural Portland ME. The NYC´er is like “forget abou’ it” and the New England’r is “eh’ ya’ naybor’ you were here first”. Everyone is different based on their upbringing and environment. The iris portal has an intrinsic enforcement benefit… namely a busted nose or black eye from not heeding it’s foot traffic exposure feature.

            Aka SOTB

          4. Whatnot… I am just as non_standard as you are… methinks… :-)

            I acronym-ize to shorten my already long paragraphs. Or would you like me to spell out People’s Republic of China or Passive Infrared? Also a/k/a is an standard abbreviation for also known as, as well as AKA, etc. Just look on any FBI wanted posting on their website.

          5. Whatnot- yes i get my share of road rage morons. That’s why I drive like a senior citizen (technically I am). That really pisses them off! I think most of them are kids, (ste)roidrage, cocaine,ethanol abuse, or all of the above or just are natural_borne dickheads who are invariably late for work.

            I like the old saying “don’t assume your poor planning constitutes an emergency for me” Go around you A_Hole!

          6. Lol. I thought “(a/k/a = also known as)” was HILARIOUS. ;)

            There is a BIG difference between regular traffic (walking or driving), the checkout line, and several people who are hopefully mostly friends in a crowded hallway.

            From SOTB: “I would enhance the PIR with a momentary contact switch to over-ride the PIR when it was malfunctioning.” Absolutely great idea IMO.

            “the NYC´er is like “forget abou’ it” and the New England’r is “eh’ ya’ naybor’ you were here first”
            Yep! Massachusetts or ‘Massholes’ are pretty angry drivers but that’s mostly on the highway. NH and ME has always been great; I live near a tourist road and traffic sux, but there is always someone who lets you in. There are very few lights so we have to negotiate with other drivers. It seems an unwritten rule to let someone in at least once while on your way to work, store, school, ect.
            On the other hand, I went on a road trip to Florida…
            Don’t do it! Fly there or bus or anything else. Really bad traffic etiquette there. If I lived in Florida I would probably agree with [Justin] and [Whatnot] on the issue.

            Side note to HaD:
            moar iriss plz

            p.s. SOTB: Probably won’t do the email thing anytime soon, sorry.
            TBO I spend way too much time online as it is when I should be finishing projects. If I do it would be disclosed to a certain few, including you. :)
            I have a big list that must be finished first. I have to cut my HaD time in half or something, lol.

          7. notarealemail – I’m confused… why do MASSHOLES come to my state (CT) and act like nuts! I go to their state and they are all good lil’ boyz and girlz. They are always headed to our beaches on the LI sound or to our Indian Casinos. Now you’d think the NYorkers would come here and be dicks blowing their horns and stuff. THEY DON’T!!! The NY’ers are the most polite when here in CT. Hardly any speed or do illegal lane changes. Our LEO’s (Staties are always nailing CT drivers in droves). I used to hate NJ drivers but MASS drivers are clearly nuts! Someone blows your doors off at 75 mph… check the plates… MASS!!!

            I got a/k/a from fbi. gov… check it out.

            Re: the email thing… only use it when you want to send somebody a cipher like most HaD’rs do these days. It doesn’t work anymore as everybody knows about Caesar Ciphers now. Just use a throwaway email (10 seconds) and use the anonymous emailer (another 10 seconds). I mean don’t use it for sundry posts like this. Just when you want to say something controversial about “Whatnot” or “Greenaum” behind their backs (I’m just kidding fella’s!!!) :-D

            When driving I-95 to Florida… avoid NYC, Jersey Turnpike, Delaware Memorial Bridge (NJ State Police), Maryland State Police (a/k/a Mother Goose), and the BELTWAY in general (Washington DC) – not in that order. And all the southern speed traps between VA to FL. Yes Deputy Sheriff Jethro still exists and needs to make his ticket quotas. Just drive your car to Lorton VA, (by way of PA, DE, MD) drive your car onto the train ferry at AMTRAK AUTO TRAIN. Bypass all the Jethro speed traps, and arrive in SANFORD FL and drive off. Just remember, last on first off! So get there late. I think they also feed you and you can buy drinks aboard in the dining car. Your car is safe fro 810 miles (1303 km).

            I also suffer your affliction spending too much time here instead of doing work. I get hollered at for being overdue for reports and such and guess why? Hanging out at Hackaday all day long! I’m glad my laptop can open so many windows so I can toggle back and forth from work to HaD. I love this place so much it’s like an addiction. I might have to seek therapy for Internet HaD addiction. 8-)

  3. Interesting decision to go with those very sharp non-overlapping iris blades! Hopefully nobody tries to stick their hand in there while it’s closing, those wiper motors are strong! :)

    1. “… I am of the opinion that if you put your finger in it then you must not care about it enough and deserve what happens to you. I have also intentionally put my finger in it and with the motor moving on 5 volt power it doesn’t hurt that much. To address how to fix this (because if the motor does not reach the limit switch then it never stops) I made the code so the iris opens upon reboot.”

      Snipped from the article

  4. And yes, people do still use G+ and even post there.
    But for whatever reason hack-a-day no longer and without warning stopped updating to there.:(
    (This was recorded on a Android phone and they automatically back up there. So it’s good for photo sharing too!)

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