Life-saving designs for natural disasters

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

The Eliodomestico purifies water with solar energy.

In the event of a natural disaster, basic necessities like clean water, shelter, and light are especially crucial in underdeveloped nations, where there is already scarce access to food and water. Heck, even first world nations like the US lose hundreds of lives in these horrible events. Fortunately, there are many humanitarian organizations dedicated to creating unique solutions to disastrous situations. The non-profit organization INDEX: Designs to Improve Life has focused their efforts on inspiring, educating, and engaging designers around the world to create life-changing inventions. Every two years, the organization gives out the prestigious INDEX: Award to inventors whose designs do just that.

One of the creations is called Noah’s miniature ark. This lifesaver is about 4 feet long, fits 4 adults, and can float on water in the event of a tsunami, flood, or hurricane. There is a tiny hatch people can use to get inside, and once it’s shut, the pod is completely waterproof. Oh, but won’t they run out of air if they’re locked inside the small ball? Not to worry! A steady flow of breathable oxygen comes through air vents on the roof. The ark’s tough plastic shell is also reinforced with fiber, so it can fend off any debris drifting in the water. All in all, the Noah’s miniature ark is kind of like a rugged, waterproof hamster ball for humans.

Well, even if the victims manage to survive the disaster, most sources of clean water will be diminished! What will they do then? They can use a water purifier called the Eliodomestico. This device looks a lot like a knee high flowering pot, but don’t go putting any soil in it! Instead, throw in some saltwater. The Eliodomestico distiller uses solar energy to convert the salty solution into a clean refreshing drink. It does such a good job at purifying, that the inventor even recommends throwing a pinch of salt into drinking water to get the proper amount of electrolytes!

Lastly, if natural disasters victims don’t have access to electricity, they’ll be okay as long as they have the NOMAD solar lamp. Just like the Eliodomestico distiller, the lamp runs on energy from the Sun, so there’s no need for a plug! When fully charged, the NOMAD can provide bright light for 6 hours, or even 35 hours if it’s dimmed down.

These water, light, and shelter inventions should hopefully come in handy to avoid dehydration, stumbling about in the dark, or not having a roof over your head at night! The INDEX: Award will be handed out later this week, and I can’t wait to find out who wins.

Images courtesy of INDEX: Designs to Improve Life.