While the picture below might appear to be a thrilling new sport, it's actually a self-rescue device designed to allow the user to escape from a skyscraper should trouble occur. The Rescue Reel, designed by Kevin Stone and based on a fishing reel, enables the user to anchor the clip to something stable, slip into that hideous red-diaper harness and slowly lower himself to safety on a kevlar rope, in the event of a building fire or other emergency. An automatic braking system keeps the descent controlled, while a manual brake serves as back-up. It allows for descent at a rate of six feet per second with a max drop of 1000 feet. Unfortunately, the max user weight of 400 pounds strands the heartiest members of the office carpool.
The device has been thoroughly tested and the designer is selling it for for $1500. In addition to self-rescue, the device could be used by emergency services for rescue efforts in buildings and mountains. While there are a very slim set of circumstances that this might be useful for individuals, it never hurts to be prepared. Unfortunately, you just know the rest of us are going to be single-filing down 80 stories while the obnoxious office ass-kiss is pulling one of these out for himself and one for the boss. Even in disaster, that guy doesn't fail to irritate.
The unheralded uses of this device are also intriguing. If you happen to be the next CFO facing possible federal indictments, avoid the exits and slip out your office window to the private car waiting to take you to the airport. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what the guy in the picture is doing. Those terrified eyes staring up at the window and scanning to make sure the coast stays clear convey it all. He better make it quick, though, the bright red harness is going to be a pretty telling giveaway when his feet hit pavement.
Rescue Reel via Gizmo Watch