A 15-year old junior high school student from Gifu prefecture has won silver at the Virtual International Exhibition for Young Inventors 2020 for his invention that makes the security bars on windows easily detachable from the inside in case of fire or disaster. Tatsuki’s idea was influenced by the Kyoto Animation arson attack in July 2019 that killed 36 employees of the anime studio, where the security bars on the windows of the now-demolished studio prevented the escape of some people.
The mechanism works by pulling on the orange tabs which then releases the security bars, making for an easy escape through the window. The tab is apparently so easy to pull, even a primary school student can use the new invention to escape through the window. Currently, the security bar on windows in Japan is fixed onto the outside of buildings with glue and is acceptable by Japanese building fire codes, which in the case of an actual fire, renders the windows useless as an escape route.
Tatsuki’s new invention was in response to the devastating attack on Kyoto Animation. The 15-year old said “There are times when a person trying to escape from a window they are prevented from doing so by the security grating… This made me wonder ‘Why is a security barrier, which is supposed to protect lives, actually taking away lives?'”
Kyoto Animation Studio 1 before it was demolished in November 2019 (photo: Daryl Harding)
Tatsuki’s new apparatus surprised professionals in the window industry in Japan, but one company is working with the junior high school student to get them manufactured for public use–though there is no time frame for when they’ll become available to the public.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.