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Surprising Science

This Classroom Door Lock Could Save Lives

A team of Washington high school students has developed an easy-to-install lock that teachers could quickly place on a door in case of an intruder emergency. They have received a grant to help them develop the product further.

What’s the Latest Development?

A team of students at Washington’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School has created what they say could be a potential lifesaving device for schools that, like theirs, have doors that don’t lock due to fire safety regulations. The Dead Stop “consists of a PVC pipe that’s hinged on one side and can be locked on the other side with a steel pin. Fitted over a hydraulic door closer, the device is designed to prevent the door hinge from widening.” The team has won a Lemuelson-MIT InvenTeam grant to help them continue their R&D, making Benjamin Banneker one of a handful of schools nationwide to receive this honor twice. They plan to demonstrate Dead Stop at MIT’s EurekaFest next June.

What’s the Big Idea?

The team was inspired to create the device after last December’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. After learning about existing locks, most of which were expensive and/or required complicated installation, they decided to design something that a teacher or other adult could install quickly and easily in under 30 seconds. Ultimately they’d like to collaborate with a manufacturer to help produce the device, and possibly apply for a patent.

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Read it at Discovery News


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