Kitchen Cabinets in Motion: Even the Jetsons Would be Impressed

Cabinets in motion obey hand signals to open doors, and touch-sensitive drawers glide out with the brush of a fingertip.

Jane Jetson just had to push a button to prepare dinner, but you can do her one better: Just wave your hand in front of a motion-sensored cabinet door and it'll open for you. Image: Hanna-Barbera/Everett Collection

Jane Jetson pushes a few buttons and dinner pops out, but her cabinets are definitely old-school. What a great kitchen upgrade these cabinets would make for George and Jane.

Using the latest in motion-detection and touch-sensitive technology, cabinet doors and drawers glide open—and shut—in response to movement or the slightest touch. Small motors activate the doors. Motion sensors are set so that your hand must be within an inch of the sensor, which prevents doors from accidentally opening as you walk past.

Cabinets in motion integrate with other home automation technologies and can be programmed for multiple functions. For example, push a single button marked “baking” on a computer screen or wall-mounted touch pad, and doors glide open to reveal baking supplies and utensils, lights over the baking prep area brighten, and a false-front cabinet door slides away to uncover a TV screen, already set to your favorite channel.

The technology can extend to other areas of the house, such as using automated doors to create hidden storage behind paneled walls in the living room or den.

Cabinetry-in-motion features

Custom cabinet company Anvil Cabinet and Mill offers a creative approach with Anvil Motion, a luxury custom line with ultra-modern automated features that you can dress in any style.

  • Sliding doors. Motion sensors detect the wave of your hand near the cabinet you want to access and the panels comprising the door slide upward to reveal the contents. Wave your hand again and the door closes. Doors can also hide integrated top-of-the-line appliances and slide open when you need them.
  • Dynamic drawers. Simply touch the front of the drawer that you want to access, and it glides open. Touch it again and it closes.
  • Fingerprint security. You can also integrate biometric locks, which “recognize” your fingerprint and allow only authorized users access to the contents, such as prescriptions, knives, liquor, or valuables.
  • Price points. All these high-tech bells and whistles come at a cost, of course. Expect to pay 40% to 70% more for automated cabinetry than you would standard swinging door cabinets.