In the face of disaster, inventors around the globe have developed new products, technologies, and innovations to help mitigate catastrophe and bring relief to impacted people and places. And in ways both large and small. These are some of the most inspiring and jaw-dropping disaster-relief inventions created to help survivors endure such calamity.
1. Flatpack refugee shelters
The Better Shelter is a flat-packed emergency shelter developed by IKEA. Capable of being shipped in just 2 boxes and assembled in only 4 hours with nothing more than an allen key, it provides near-instant housing for people fleeing catastrophe. These shelters represent a major upgrade over tents. And they’re especially critical for refugees who reside in displacement camps or crisis areas (they’ve been used in both Iraq and Nepal and to house refugees fleeing Yemen), providing an insulated structure that can be secured. They’re also powered by solar energy, with USB ports for mobile phone charging.
2. Inflatable micro homes
Measuring just 4 feet by 4 feet, the inflatable micro home kit from Inflatable World arrives with everything you need for quick, temporary shelter if an unexpected catastrophe leaves you without a home. It includes a bed, freeze-dried food, first aid supplies, a 50-gallon water bladder, stove, and radio. Want more features? Add-ons include solar power, lighting, and an electrical pump.
3. Radiation-detecting watch
Already a best seller in Japan and Asia, the Polimaster Geiger Counter wristwatch has the ability to accurately measure and monitor the presence of gamma radiation, protecting wearers from overexposure to radiation, sounding an alarm when the dose rate exceeds the allowable level. It can also record and store that data.
4. Floating shelters
Designers Zhou Ying and Niu Yuntao created an award-winning emergency raft shelter, the Duckweed Survival House, aimed specifically to help in the wake of a tsunami or other event where rising water threatens lives. The floating raft shelter can be quickly self-inflated and is designed to stay upright in even the most intense waves. It also has a built-in conversion chamber that can make seawater potable. Another floating shelter for tsunami events, the Noah, designed by Shoji Tanaka, is a temporary, floating pod that can accommodate up to 4 people and is designed to survive a 33-foot wave drop.
5. All-terrain aid transporter
The all-terrain aid transporter can navigate even the roughest terrain to bring medical supplies, shelter materials, and other life-saving provisions to disaster areas. These electric vehicles by Michael and Kenny Ham, still in the concept phase, are aerodynamically designed to travel quickly. And they’re meant to be deployed in groups, making the need for a navigator unnecessary.
6. Solar powered, inflatable LED lights
LuminAID was the brainchild of Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, 2 graduate students looking for a way to get lighting cheaply and quickly into disaster zones. They designed a solar-powered, waterproof, inflatable light (it also floats), with zero movable parts, which can be easily and cheaply shipped. Newer models also include a solar phone charger.
Disasters like fire, tornadoes, and hurricanes can do enormous damage in very little time. Are you and your family prepared? Find out what you can do before and after a disaster with our disaster prep guides.