Startup - Smart Door Barricade

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 19, 2014

Barricade your door.

And control it via your phone.

Smartlocks are increasingly commonplace, but this startup is taking a different approach. Rather than replacing your existing lock, this company has developed a barricade that installs at the bottom of the door, aiming to improve security.

In this note, we dig into its features, its four main drawbacks and its market potetial.

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Comments (12)

Good write up. Totally agree with your findings, especially battery life. I don't see them being around long.

Brian - do you have any guesses about "what problem does this solve"?

I get that it's a form of door lock/barricade, but when would something like this be more practical or secure than a deadbolt or other locking mechanism?

Are there enough cases where current solutions to locking doors are impractical and warrant a device like this?

Maybe Brian has other thoughts as well, but the two claims I see from this and other door brace manufacturers are:

  • It can't be picked or bumped, unlike a deadbolt. Which is true, but it's not like there are roving gangs of criminals bumping and picking every lock in existance.
  • It provides more holding force. A deadbolt is only as strong as the door frame, and on a lot of houses (especially new construction) that means a 2x4. Exterior doors are generally fairly sturdy, solid wood or hollow steel, so blocking the entire bottom edge will (at least in theory) provide more holding force than the frame.

There's just something that seems...off about them. Like something will malfunction and I won't be able to open the door. I have trouble trusting that a product made by a failed Kickstarter will work when my house is filled with smoke and I'm trying to open the door and get out.

"I have trouble trusting that a product made by a failed Kickstarter will work when my house is filled with smoke and I'm trying to open the door and get out."

Now I am inspired to do a kickstarter for a fake dummy you throw at a window for emergency egress.

any guesses about "what problem does this solve"?

Like Ethan points out "lock bumping" invulnerability is the biggest one the developers point out.

Many residential doors are pretty flimsy. Firemen in my area carry a battering ram that opens just about every door by punching the extended deadbolts through the frame. Haven also claims it helps toughen resistance to kicking or battering ram forced entry.

However, I'm not sure Haven really improves much on that without introducing new issues. If your doors are crap, they still will be crap after Haven. Will Haven work correctly after a spring's worth of mud/ winter's worth of snowy footprints get dropped on it and gunk it up?

Yes, but for $300 you can get a pretty good deadbolt and some door reinforcements.

You not only need to worry about battery failure on the device, but also stolen/broken/dead-battery on your phone. If you put this on all your entry doors, it's going to be a really destructive re-entry process.

WiFi failure is an issue. Not many home users have a battery backup for their WiFi.

You need to have a mechanical override for at least one entry in to your home.

For those concerned with their residential deadbolt getting kicked in: I recommend this. Works great for saving the door frame after it's been kicked in as well.

From my locksmith days:

Bumping resistance: Install high security locks which are impervious to bumping. (Medeco, Schlage Primus, etc)

Door kick resistance: Most “Constructor grade” deadbolt locks you see at home improvement centers have bolts that are either hollow or only the section which projects out of the door is solid or reinforced. Manufacturers do this in order for the lock to be able to accommodate the two common backsets in the market with only one bolt and make the lock install process DIY friendly. Unfortunately this makes the lock vulnerable to kick attacks. Make sure the bolt on the lock you choose is constructed in such a way that part of the reinforced section of the bolt remains inside the door when in the locked position thus providing a positive anchorage to the door. Most high security deadbolts are constructed this way. The screws on the faceplate are not enough. Also make sure you install a reinforced strike plate that does not rely on the door frame for support but instead, attaches or anchors to the structure behind the frame. Most pre-hung doors on the market have only a ¾” thick frame.

Yes most likely your local home improvement store will not offer these types of high security locks, but then again, Costco does not offer high performance video cameras either. Same principle applies I guess.

And remember, keys may not be as cool or sexy as having the door open with your iPhone but convenience and security sometimes don’t live under the same roof. What is convenient for you may also be convenient for the bad guys.

Cheers!

Couple of notes: Back in my locksmith days in NYC there was a barricade concept similar called simply "the police lock". It was a metal bar with a fitting on the floor and a slide with a metal hoop on the door. The metal slide attached to a rim cylinder which allowed opening from outside. This was available from the 70s and on but never seen it outside of NYC 2. If stepping on the bar opens it, it is not pick/bump proof.. By nature, all residential doors have space at the bottom. If you fit a flat metal bar and slide it from the door edge in a 45 degree angle, the bar will fold down. Doors that have some give will be even easier to "bump" this way...

Sagy, you are not that old LOL.

I'm very young Mario, but my locksmith days were 15 years ago. Besides, I always wanted to say "back in the good ol' days"..;)

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