Last month when I joined a new gym, one of the selling points was that it was open 24 hours. (I seriously doubt I'll have a need to exercise in the middle of the night, but you never know.) The facility is staffed and the doors unlocked from 6 in the morning till 10 at night. After those hours you need a special high-tech way to get in. Today I had my hand scanned so it would unlock a door.
The storefront has two entrances, which are designated as "Member Door" (always locked) and "Guest Door" (unlocked when the center is staffed). Since I always come during staffed hours, I was told I could use the unlocked door as long as I scanned my access card at the front desk. I found out today the secret for getting in the locked entrance lies in a clunky-looking cylindrical device that sits outside the Member Door. Turns out it's a fancy biometric hand reader that verifies a member's identity and grants access.
The machine uses a hand print for identification. Before I could use the access machine, I had to give it a sample. After swiping my access card at the front desk, I walked around to the opposite side where a strange looking contraption was waiting. I was instructed to grab the bar at the bottom, release it, and then repeat the process.
After I provided my hand information, I got a quick lesson in the use of the machine outside the door. There's two parts to the system. First, you wave your access card over a scanner at the top. A panel slides open to reveal the biometric reader. You insert your right hand, grab the bar, and squeeze it. If it recognizes you as a member, the door unlocks so you can enter.
I can't wait to try out the access machine. There's nothing that says I can't do it while the building is open...