Trope-a-Day: Our Doors Are Different

Our Doors Are Different: Well, sometimes.  Automatic, yes, just about all of them as at the Imperial level of technology (or, indeed, the modal level for the Associated Worlds) throwing an actuator on there is cheap, and people are carrying things in all hands often enough that it’s handy not to have to set them down to make the door open.  (Of course, most of these aren’t automatic, so much as operated by thinking “open” at them.)  Also, in microgravity, finding leverage may be annoying for much the same reason.

Leaving aside blast doors, vault doors, and other such things with locking mechanisms designed to survive someone letting off a nuke just outside, etc., and the cog-style spacetight doors designed to be openable regardless of pressure differentials, most of the rest of the Different Doors are the gratuitously fancy non-rectangular-and-with-multiple-moving-parts styles that serve no useful purpose whatsoever except for letting architects and interior designers show off as much as possible.  Which is to say, they don’t so much serve an out-of-universe desire to show off how cool and sciency and futuristic everything is, as an in-universe desire for… well, that.

Special note here to the really fancy swarm-doors made of large numbers of nanomachines pretending to be a wall that essentially melt away to create an opening, or even around you to create the effect that you just melted right through the wall, leaving it intact behind you.  Very expensive, but damn shiny-looking.

And, of course, to the biotech heart-valve or sphincter-based doors.

2 thoughts on “Trope-a-Day: Our Doors Are Different

    • Short answer: depends on the doors.

      Longer answer: Hopefully, most of them shouldn’t need it, because most of them have backup power in the event of a power failure. Wiring an accumulator one-way across the power bus so that you’re not left high and dry in these sorts of circumstances is just good engineering sense, belike.

      But most of them do anyway, yes, and the rest tend to be deliberately fail-open (emergency escape routes, say) or fail-closed (vaults). In particular, the aforementioned design of spacetight door designs is intended to make this particularly easy; open the emergency access panel, yank the lever that disengages the locking pawl – when the power is off, the clutching magnet depolarizes and the motor is automatically declutched – and any standard spacer’s bolt key will plug into the mechanism to turn the door, or failing even that, a hand-crank.

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