Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How Natural Disasters can lead to Great Product Invention

Back in March 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami devastated northern Japan, it was hard to find the silver lining for those who had pretty much lost everything due to the natural disasters.

But one innovative person was able to create some good out of a horrific situation through product invention.

Shoji Tanaka, an inventor and president of Cosmo Power—a Japanese engineering company--who worked as a volunteer in Japan’s disaster zone, told the New York Times that he was “appalled by the horrifying damage.” What he saw while supplying those in need with clothing and helping clean up the carnage, prompted Tanaka to invent a product intended to save lives in the event of naturals disasters that are on a similar scale in the future.

“It spurred me to work hard to complete Noah,” Tanaka told the New York Times.

“Noah” is Tanaka’s disaster-proof pod that is intended to hold up to four people and withstand the impact of a tsunami.

Tanaka’s invention is properly named, as it essentially serves as a modern-day Noah’s Ark. This bright-yellow, globe-shaped pod is 4 feet in diameter and is made of fiber-reinforced plastic that can withstand blows from a sledgehammer and survive a 33-foot drop.

Although it’s certainly not for the claustrophobic, the pod can fit up to four people.

The Noah pod is not intended to shelter people for long. Tanaka’s hope is that it provides a “temporary refuge” for those that are in jeopardy of being swept away by the rushing flood waters caused by a tsunami. The idea is that once in the pod individuals can float along and be carried by the water for a few hours until help arrives. Small air ducts in the pod make it possible to breathe and there is even a small window so passengers can see outside.

But not everyone is going to be able to afford Noah. Once the product hit the market, it was sold for about $3,800. There is also a two-person Noah survival pod available for around $10,000.

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