Tsunami Survival Capsules Offer Hope for Japan's Next Great Wave
“Noah” spherical earthquake and tsunami shelter, I choose you! At least you will, when the tsunami alarm sounds and water quickly begins to rise - until then, let the kids use it as a playhouse. The 1.2 meter (4 feet) diameter tsunami survival capsules were designed by Japan's Cosmo Power as floating emergency shelters capable of holding up to four adults.
Cosmo Power co-president Shoji Tanaka (that's him in the image above) was inspired to create the Noah capsule by the carnage and chaos caused by the March 11th, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Nearly 20,000 people are listed as dead or missing as a result of the catastrophe. Surely some proportion of those lost could have survived with the aid of a small, buoyant survival capsule like the Noah... and when the next tsunami hits (as history states it will), lives will be saved.
The capsules are made of enhanced fiberglass and are painted bright yellow for ease of identification by rescuers. Cosmo Power, a Japanese generator manufacturer, has dubbed the capsule “Noah” due to it being a miniature ark to be used in case of a severe flood. To this observer, however, it looks more like a large Pokeball painted Pikachu-yellow: all that's missing are the ears, orange cheek patches and a smiling face.
Once inside, those not immediately incapacitated by claustrophobia will find a bare minimum of creature comforts, and we do mean bare – there's a central metal grab-pole and that's about it. Escape with a stripper and you've got it made in the shade, baby!
One assumes the floor is weighted for stability as the roof sports breathing holes and a small circular window. According to Shoji Tanaka, the capsule has passed a bevy of crash tests with flying colors and is now available for sale.
With only 10 employees involved in Noah capsule production at Cosmo Power's Hiratsuka factory west of Tokyo, the balls are bouncing off the assembly line rather slowly. The line IS moving, however: though priced at a stiff 300,000 yen (about $3,900) apiece, the company has a backlog of 600 orders with 2 capsules having been delivered... perhaps by Ash Ketchum himself. (via 680 News and CBC)