electric eye

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electric eye (plural electric eyes)

  1. A sensor which measures the intensity of light, often used to start and stop electrical equipment (motorized doors, etc.).
    • 1928 Feb. 10. "Span Atlantic by Electric Eye," Spokesman-Review (Spokane, USA), p. 1 (retrieved 14 Nov 2013):
      A man and woman sat before an electric eye in a London laboratory tonight and a group of people in a darkened room in this village outside New York watched them turn their heads move from side to side.
    • 1996 Nov. 29, Richard Perez-Pena, "Rail Accident Stirs Debate About Sensors," New York Times (retrieved 14 Nov 2013):
      Another frequently cited possibility is a system of electric eyes reading beams of light that are aimed along tracks so that any displacement of the rails would disrupt the beam.
    • 2005 May 10, Gary Shapiro, "Botanical Garden Will Unveil Eight New Greenhouses," New York Sun (retrieved 14 Nov 2013):
      The doors have electric eyes: "If you're carrying large specimens or carts full of plants, the electric eye beam is broken and the door opens up."