We, modern men, enjoy taking pride in all of today’s technological progress and we’ve got this illusion that we’re somehow superior to our ancestors. But the truth is that at least some of today’s “wonders” have been around for way longer than we imagine. Of course, the Ancients didn’t have chips on their keys or biometric security measures, but we bet you’ll still be surprised by the following.
The first thing that comes to mind is something that you could have seen in a documentary about Star Trek. Even if you’re not necessarily a fan, it seems that a series of technologies that were only imagined (and built on special effects) in the early episodes, actually led to progress. Somebody made a documentary about them and on that show you would have found the automated doors that slided open based on sensors. When the original Star Trek series was produced (somewhere in the ’60s) this was not yet a part of day to day life and, according to that documentary, the doors were actually moved manually by two workers on the set, one for each sliding panel. Now think about your own personal history and try to remember when was the first time you saw this kind of door. We’re so accustomed to them now that it might be difficult to remember, but if you really think about it you’ll probably realize that you’ve only known them for 20-30 years, and that’s a tiny fraction compared to humanity’s history.
But if we were to go back in time, we’d see that the first automatic door was actually created in the 1st century AD by Heron of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician and engineer. As for motion sensors, it seems that the first foot sensor activated door was a Chinese creation, first implemented sometime between 604 and 618, during the reign of Emperor Yang of Sui; the emperor asked for this door to be fitted at his personal library.
And even something as complex as automatic gate openers was invented long before modern times. Actually, we’re close to 900 years since their invention, since Al Jazari (1136-1206) was the one who managed to imagine and develop a system that did this, based on hydro-power.
So you see, we’ve accomplished a lot, but we’re not entitled to all the glory. However, we deserve a lot of credit for trying hard to move further and progress. And when it comes to doors we know for a fact that we’re doing everything we can to make sure your security is impenetrable.