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Door that Opens with Just a Button! Front Door Automation System for WheelchairsEverGreen Co.,Ltd

2018.12.11

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“Remote Key” that can be directly attached to the pipes of wheelchairs. It can be customized to meet each person's requirements for foot or hand operation

Points to be noted

  • Utilize the technology nurtured in the present business to take up the challenge of a new target, enhancement of the lifestyle environment for people with disabilities
  • The goal is to increase sales by using the subsidy system provided by the municipality for housing renovation to people with disabilities and by partnering with housing renovation manufacturers

According to the 2018 white paper (cabinet office) on people with disabilities, there are around 4.287 million people with disabilities in Japan. People with limited motor function of the body (physical disability) who use wheelchairs are also not few. This includes those who have become disabled because of accidents, and to enable such people to participate socially with enthusiasm, it is essential to promote a barrier free environment based on the concept of universal design.

“I would love to lead a free independent life”. In response to this demand of people with disabilities, EverGreen Co., Ltd. developed the “Easy door system”, a front door automation system for wheelchairs. Opening doors using keys is a simple activity for normal people, but a difficult task for wheelchair users. Though the problem depends on the degree and symptoms of the disability, they struggle to insert the key into the key hole while sitting in the wheelchair, to push the wheelchair backwards while holding the hinged door, and to take out the key from their pockets. The “Easy door system” has been devised for people with disabilities to make it easy and safe for them to use.

The company expanded its business as a specialized manufacturer and seller of a proprietary security system similar to a contactless IC card. Systems such as the wireless communication technology “FeliCa”, a contactless IC card system, used as electronic money for transportation such as “SuiCa (JR East)” are well known. The system developed by EverGreen uses radio wave frequency lower than that of “FeliCa” enabling a longer communication distance. One of the advantages is that the system can be used outdoors as it is not affected by factors such as rain or wind. The company has a consistent track record in delivering to fields requiring high security such as offices, factories, and research centers, and after the company was selected for the “Manufacturing subsidy” by the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, they started the development of “Easy door system” as a new business, utilizing the technology they had developed.

Electronic lock installed on the door. Existing keys can also be used

Although other automation systems for front doors are available, many of them are shaped like the remote-control keys used in cars, and it may not be easy for people with disabilities to use such keys.
Wheelchair users often cannot match criminals in physical strength, and it is difficult for wheelchair users to get the key back if the key is snatched away, which is also a problem of safety (crime prevention).

Considering the safety, security, and ease of use from the perspective of people with disabilities, Evergreen came up with the idea of attaching a remote key to wheelchairs that can be operated even from a distance of 3 meters. The operation can be carried out with a button and depending on the disability and symptoms of the user, it can be customized to be operated by hand or leg. When the remote key is detached from the wheelchair, the functions will completely stop and cannot be activated again, and even if the key is stolen, users need not be concerned that it will be used. Pocket size remote keys are also provided for other members of the family.

The “Door drive unit” that can be installed in an existing hinged door operates in conjunction with the remote key. When radio waves emitted from the remote key is detected by the sensor, the door opens or closes automatically. The unit is driven by a motor, and a specialized structure with a spring between the motor and door is provided for safety to prevent the hands from getting squeezed while opening or closing the door. The structure ensures that the door can be opened manually even when there is a power outage.

A door drive unit that compresses a spring with a motor and opens and closes the door using the expansion force of the spring (Patent: Hinged door drive unit). The door moves when it receives the radio wave signal from the remote key (Patent: Transmitter for automatic door unit)

The door drive unit is installed on the side of the door facing the room, and the unit is not visible from outside the house. Assuming the scenario of losing the remote, a method has been implemented that allows specified keys to be registered or deleted by button operations from inside the house (Patent: Unit to register and delete personal identification data for access control).

This system was developed approximately 5 years ago. Though there has been a steady increase in the recognition of the product through exhibitions, increasing the sales has some problems.
One of them is whether the product is eligible for subsidies from municipalities when installed at home. For the units installed up to now, there are cases where the subsidies were provided for housing renovation to people with disabilities, however, the subsidy system followed by each municipality is different. When an individual installs the system at home, one of the factors for the decision to purchase is based on whether subsidy is available, and it is very important that the subsidy is provided uniformly by all municipalities.
The company is looking for partnerships with companies such as house remodeling manufacturers who handle housing renovations for people with disabilities, or equipment manufacturers delivering systems to welfare facilities, who can work with them to promote installation and sales of the system. The company is planning to develop a door management system for offices and nursing care facilities that can be used by both normal people and people with disabilities.

In 2020, the Olympic and Paralympics Games will be flagged off in Tokyo, and the day will come when both healthy and people with disabilities can lead the same social lifestyle at the same place. There is no doubt that the system of this company will contribute significantly to the realization of a society where all people can live comfortably.

Interview Date: November 6, 2018

 

company information

We are a development company for producing and marketing our own developed non-contact IC cards and systems therefor. We are developing, as a new business, front-door automation systems for the disabled while receiving the subsidy for manufacture, and we will demonstrate actual non-contact IC cards and front-door automation system in this exhibition.

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