Japan's answer to next tsunami: a mini-Noah's Ark

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  • 1

    smithinjapan

    You would think that in many cases if they have the time to climb in and get comfy in a tennis ball they have the time to get to safer ground. Maybe not, by probably in some cases at least.

  • 1

    moonbeams2

    This a great idea to keep in your house and get your family in.

    Would be a tragic disaster if kept outside :(

  • 1

    edojin

    As for the people who live in those tiny apartments, where would they store this thing? Seems as if it would take up a lot of space ...

  • 3

    zichi

    I had a similar thought following the tsunami, but if this was in a tsunami like the one of 3/11 I think you would just die from the spinning.

  • 1

    Tom DeMicke

    Almost like a capsule hotel. Interesting concept...

  • 2

    CrazyJoe

    I thought it was a man in a huge washing machine. In case of a fire, the shelter itself will withstand the heat , but the humans in it certainly won't.

  • 3

    Rohan Gillett

    I think it would be a little hard to use in reality. If you keep it in inside your house it looks way too big to fit through your door. If you keep it outside you have to get to it, then get inside (and as we know those waves move very quickly). There is no window, so if someone is inside and someone else is trying to get inside they`ll be bashing on door to get in. The person inside might open it, not knowing what is happening outside, just in time to get the wave right in the face.

    And as we saw from all the video footage, the wave brought in and gathered up more garbage and debris as it moved inland. I can just imagine one of these things getting trapped in very nasty place, or getting hit by some runway boat, container (one of those huge ones they carry on boats), trucks etc.

    Imagine the initial wave carrying you out to sea, another wave might pick you up, bring you back in and smash you to pieces. It doesn`t look like there is anything inside to keep you safely strapped in.

    I think in theory this device sounds good, but in practice I`d rather take my chances trying to get to high ground.

  • 0

    some14some

    cost seems reasonable but would like to know the exact dimension and weight of this circular ball :)

  • 1

    Spidapig24

    Completely agree with you Rohan,

    Not only what you have said but also is the sphere buoyant with the door facing upwards otherwise you are stuck in it until rescued, it is obviously airtight so how long until the air runs out especially with 4 adults in it. No points to strap in so you will be tossed around and injured possibly critically or fatally (if it is hit by something or hits something). Does it have an EPIRB or similar device to attract attention of rescuers.

    The theory is good but l think this is more of a deathtrap than a saviour.

  • 1

    tideofiron

    Watch "Shelter Skelter" from The Twilight Zone series. You'll see why this is a bad idea. I believe it's on youtube.

  • 2

    zichi

    This post does not give all the details, I read on another, there's a small window in the top and a small vent pipe, which would be useless once in a tsunami.

  • 1

    tideofiron

    Sorry, that should be "The Shelter" from the old black and white series. Give it a watch.

  • 1

    gogogo

    I just found not want to float out to sea... but I'll take that over dieing

  • 3

    sensei258

    That's all well and good until it gets stuck underwater and the occupants drown.

  • 3

    Lunchbox

    How is this any better than just hopping in your car?

  • 1

    Utrack

    Who in the world can sit like he is sitting for a long period of time, there's know bathroom and rescue could take days. If the thing had a motor, stablizers, external anti-gravity field (flying car). You could get to safety quickly, I could see spending the yen but it is just a ball that does nothing extra

  • 2

    choiwaruoyaji

    This is a great idea!

    I think some posters are missing the point. I I think it is supposed to be a last-chance lifeline in the event of a terrible tsunami such as 3/11.

    Of course you would be better off getting out of the danger zone immediately, but not everyone can do that so easily. This gives people one last chance and I think it's brilliant.

    It could be argued that (if these things became popular) people might start to think that they are safe because they have the capsule or maybe they rely on the capsule instead of evacuating as they should. Those are valid points.

    However, compared to being caught without protection by a tsunami, being inside this device would increase your survival chances immeasurably.

    Of course we can think of all kinds of scenarios when the device might fail, but compared to being completely without protection or else in a car or in a building, this is by far the best option. I'm sure it would work and, in a tsunami, I would definitely use it.

    Well done to the company for designing and producing the survival pod. Great Japanese engineering.

    One further interesting point is that oil rigs have had similar survival pods for many years. Just google "oil rig survival pod".

  • 1

    kevinintokyo

    You would probably be washed out to sea and then what.

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    How is this any better than just hopping in your car?

    If you get in your car quick enough to drive away, all well and good.

    If you are old, infirm, etc then it might not be so easy to escape by car. Also, you may not have a car.

    And if your car gets caught in the tsunami, well, you might survive if you are very very lucky. But in that scenario this pod is a million times more preferable.

  • 0

    Boris Yarovoy

    And good to know in advance when an earthquake will be. Such technology already exists, it can be done in a month. http://translate.google.ru/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://www.forbes.ru/svoi-biznes/konkurs-2011/73414-tron-onlain-tehnologiya-sistemnogo-prognozirovaniya-zemletryasenii-v- The only pity is that the Japanese government does not want to introduce TRON.

  • -2

    Disillusioned

    Kind of ironic that, this tsunami was the largest in 300 years, so those that buy them will more than likely never use them and they will become a legacy for their grand or great grandkids.

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    You would probably be washed out to sea and then what.

    You'd have a good chance of being picked up by rescue ships. I'm sure this thing would float for days. If you had some cans of kanpan and bottled water inside the pod you'd be fine.

    Compared to being smashed and drowned if caught in a tsunami without protection, I would take being washed out to sea in this device every time.

    This survival pod is a great idea. Kudos to the maker.

  • 0

    Mr. Bill

    It should have a hatch on top as well and come with an oar.

    Another use for this would be to store emergency goods in.

    People talk about all the things that could happen. Well, they could happen to you without this globe handy too; washed to sea, trapped under stuff, bashed about...if so, I would rather be in this thing.

    However, you won't catch me living on the shores of this country anyway, and it boggles the mind that people do.

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    I think in theory this device sounds good, but in practice I`d rather take my chances trying to get to high ground.

    If you are young and fit and (even better) have a car then you might take such a risk.

    On the other hand, you may be older, infirm, without a car, etc... escape is not so easy.

    Also, I think on 3/11 a young American woman left it too late and was tragically caught by the tsunami while fleeing on a bicycle. That tragic case just goes to show the awful risks involved.

    You can criticize this device all you like and think of all kinds of scenarios in which it might fail. However, I think it would actually be very tough and in almost all cases float in then float out on the tsunami.

    When I think of all the poor people caught in the 3/11 tsunami, I am sure 1000s of them would have survived if they had had access to this survival pod. In fact, I think the majority of them would have survived.

  • 0

    Farmboy

    I would like it to have some sort of system so that it always points up. It shouldn't be too hard to do, I think... maybe just air pockets strategically placed would do it....or maybe it already does this, but it just isn't mentioned. I'm just imagining that I wouldn't like rolling over and over for days or weeks...

  • 1

    Jan Claudius Weirauch

    You should store such a unit on the roof of your house, because if you house collapses on to of the giant tennis ball it will swim nowhere.

  • 1

    Christina O'Neill

    It seems the pole in the centre of the capsule is the only source for anchoring the occupants,ie preventing the people within from colliding with each other, a bit like a car with no seatbelts. Is it back to the drawing board?

  • 4

    MeanRingo

    I love the little mini stripper pole.

  • 0

    WilliB

    If the idea is that you want to be washed out to sea with the tsuname, then wouldn´t it be better to have a proper boat ready, with a radio to call for help? Floating out at sea in that stupid little ball sounds kind of crazy....

  • 2

    gogogo

    How is this any better than just hopping in your car?

    If you get in your car quick enough to drive away, all well and good.

    Actually that is why alot of people died, they tried to drive out of town got stuck in traffic and the tsunami washed them away.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    choiwaruoyaji: "I am sure 1000s of them would have survived if they had had access to this survival pod. In fact, I think the majority of them would have survived."

    What do you base this on? On the contrary, perhaps had these been available and in use before March 11th people that survived would have died by getting into these things. You really can't say either way, can you? But do tell me this -- where is someone who lives on the 2nd floor (or any other for that matter) of a small building going to put the thing?

  • 0

    Nessie

    I would like it to have some sort of system so that it always points up. It shouldn't be too hard to do, I think... maybe just air pockets strategically placed would do it....or maybe it already does this, but it just isn't mentioned. I'm just imagining that I wouldn't like rolling over and over for days or weeks...

    It has airholes, so this implies that the capsule is designed for the top to stay on top.

  • 0

    kitsuki14

    If they could make it like and enormous gimbal where you sit in the very center i think itd be better. but as someone said you most likely will get caught in debris.. in general it would float but with all those huge objects being carried by the waves..youll certainly get suck even if it did resist impact (and you didnt die inside )..maybe it should have some kind of cushioned walls... if you were pushed under and objects moved over you thats it. i mean even if you didnt drown you'd be stuck for a long time. i think it should have a gps tracker as well so that if there really was a disaster rescue can go straight to the capsules, well... if they were actually used anyway. and def should have radio as well. it would be really great if you could get a source for air while inside but not from the outside. plants? and if it were to make all these adjustments i think itd have to be much much larger.

    well anyway this seems so..manga-like...

    im a bit worried about the people who are buying it like this.. i think as it is it's just going to cause a slow painful and terrifying death...

    but honestly im glad theyre trying to think of things for the future.

  • 0

    kitsuki14

    this is what i was thinking about as i wrote the last post http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQqmp9OOE1E so scary...

  • 1

    Antonios_M

    I think they should make a No2 version adding safety seats and a minimum amount of space for bottles of water. I believe that even though this thing might survive the impact with the waves, the spinning of the people inside might cause lethal injuries to them.

    Somehow, it reminds me of those people who fell to Niagara Falls inside a barrel.

  • 0

    kevinintokyo

    It may work if it is tethered and strong enough to take blows from huge floating masses being washed inland. The tether would have to be properly secured and have to be a few hundred meters long to allow for movement and impacts. Just a thought to a fairly inexpensive idea to give those that are not able to make it to safety after a strong earthquake.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    Let's hope it's fireproof. Large areas of debris on the tsunami surface were on fire, fed by spilt/spilled fuel and oil.

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    @smithinjapan

    On the contrary, perhaps had these been available and in use before March 11th people that survived would have died by getting into these things.

    I don't think you read my first post properly. Just to reiterate... of course, the best thing is to get out of the danger zone immediately. However, not everyone can or will do that. Old people, infirm people, stubborn people, etc... inevitably stragglers will remain when the tsunami hits. This device will give those people (I believe) an excellent chance of survival.

    If you're saying that people might be tempted to rely on this device rather than get out of the danger zone as they should and because of that casualties might increase... well, I already mentioned that as a valid point so please do read people's posts properly.

    However, as a last-resort lifeline for people who haven't evacuated, the choice between getting in the Noah pod or suffering the onslaught of a tsunami unprotected... well it's a no-brainer.

    And I think this is a well designed device. It would bobble about on the water's surface and is the best design to avoid getting caught. It's very tough... a sphere is extremely strong and can slip around obstacles well. It might get trapped underwater but there is more than enough air inside to survive until the tsunami recedes.

    I'm sure you have seen some of the videos of people fleeing the tsunami. In one I recall seeing an old man hobbling up the road as the tsunami approaches behind. From the scene I would almost certainly say he didn't survive. If he had had access to this device I think he probably would have. If I had been him, and one had been available I would have got in it, and so would you.

    Where to put it? Someone suggested the roof. If there is a small yard behind the house (as is the case for many Japanese residences) put it there. The local government could get involved and designate (or buy) vacant plots and have several of these pods for residents in the immediate vicinity, etc. If you just put your mind to it then there are lots of possibilities...

    Have you got any other ideas to help people living in these places? I doubt it. You would just tell them to not live there, right?

    It's easy to say that, isn't it? But I prefer this company's approach... a practical and well designed solution.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Even if it had cushioning, assuming more than one person were in it they would crush each other as the thing was pummeled by all sorts of stuff.

  • -1

    choiwaruoyaji

    Even if it had cushioning, assuming more than one person were in it they would crush each other as the thing was pummeled by all sorts of stuff.

    A bicycle helmet would be useful inside, but there's no way they would crush each other. That's ridiculous. The people getting pummeled to death are outside the pod, being washed and bashed and crushed by all the debris.

  • 0

    Bettingurlife

    There are just too many possibilites to class this as a safe item for use. Put it in a park, well you have to get to the park and mabye in the panic, and there will be panic (as demonstrated by stories of people dumping old people they were helping when the water got too close), people could end up fighting over the things.

    The story mentions crash tests, but what kind of crash test and were the tests of an international standard?

    After seeing the March 11 vidoes I can imagine some people being trapped in these things and rolling over and over inside, either getting a bad case of dizziness or getting injured against that bar in the middle.

    I can also imagine some poor person not being able to see outside that well and can`t see some immensely large object rapidly approaching them to crush them to death.

    Until some government authority approves them, best keep away from them.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    choiwaruoyaji: "Have you got any other ideas to help people living in these places? I doubt it. You would just tell them to not live there, right?"

    Nope, I wouldn't, but I wouldn't suggest a person living in room 502 ask their landlord if they can store a big yellow sphere in a place they would -- and yes, even old people who cannot move well -- have to run to in the event of a massive wave approaching. Let's say they have the designated fields you suggest the government might offer. How is the old man in the video you mention going to get to pods on time? Same problem as if the pod were not there to begin with.

    "A bicycle helmet would be useful inside, but there's no way they would crush each other. That's ridiculous."

    How is it ridiculous? How fast did the tsunami travel on March 11th? Let's assume four people are inside a pod traveling at that speed. The pod slams into a building traveling at that speed, just behind A's back. Forgetting the fact that A's back may well be broken, C will either fly face first into the pole they are grasping, and/or crack skulls with A who is already down. B and D got lucky because their shoulders were only dislocated when they slammed into A's sides at the same time. But then, darn it, there's another building on the way and this time the bobble will slam into it from behind B! Well, maybe not -- a ship just slammed into them first along with all the other debris you point out is outside the pod. You make it sound like the thing would be like spinning tea-cups at its worst.

    Point is, you can stop the advertising gimmick. The thing poses as many or more problems as it does 'solutions'. It would kill more people than it saved -- assuming they could get to the thing in the first place, which they probably could not. It's a cash grab by a company profiting from what happened, and that's all.

  • 1

    choiwaruoyaji

    After seeing the March 11 vidoes I can imagine some people being trapped in these things and rolling over and over inside

    After seeing the March 11 videos, I don't have to imagine, in fact I know that 1000s of people were bashed and crushed and drowned as the awful tsunami engulfed them.

    If I had the awful choice of: (a) being engulfed by the tsunami unprotected, or (b) having one of these well-made survival pods to get into... I know which choice I would make.

  • 0

    CrazyJoe

    It's only 120cm in diameter. Definitely not for the claustrophobic.

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    @smithinjapan

    OK, you've got no other ideas... just criticisms of this device. Fair enough.

    As I already mentioned, do read people's posts.

    To reiterate my previous post (word for word):

    Of course we can think of all kinds of scenarios when the device might fail, but compared to being completely without protection or else in a car or in a building, this is by far the best option.

    How is the old man in the video you mention going to get to pods on time?

    I can't understand how anyone could have a problem understanding this. Which is nearer, high ground/evacuation point or the pod parked in your backyard or a few meters away in a vacant plot? Sure, he might not even get to the pod but if the evacuation ground is 1km away he has a heck of bigger chance of getting to the pod.

    I think the point that you don't appreciate is that survival is all about chance and statistics. You don't play poker, right?! ;-)

    You try to stack the chances of survival in your favor... give yourself a better chance of survival. So being in this pod increases those chances immeasurably when compared to facing the onslaught of a tsunami unprotected.

  • 1

    southsakai

    CrazyJoeOCT. 03, 2011 - 12:03AM JST It's only 120cm in diameter. Definitely not for the claustrophobic.

    I'm claustrophobic. I'm out!

  • 0

    choiwaruoyaji

    For the sake of discussion, my survival idea/suggestion for people living in areas with a high risk of being hit by a tsunami is this...

    Build steel reinforced towers on every block. Basically, just steps leading up to a platform.

    The local government would have to make a law, buy land and charge the local people for the cost and maintenance of the towers but that would be the price they would have to pay for living there.

    They would look ugly for sure but they could be decorated at festival times etc.

    Could old people and disabled people get up the steps. Some couldn't, unfortunately. That's a disadvantage of this idea... no suggestion is perfect!

    However, this idea and the Noah pod idea are far better than just criticizing and having no alternative. That saves nobody's life.

    Any more ideas from readers here?

  • 1

    CrazyJoe

    @southsakai

    I'm out too!

  • 1

    YongYang

    Moving in a calm orderly fashion to the new to be designated high ground, secure structure, tsunami safety areas will be a million times more sensible than climbing inside a death trap.

  • 0

    Draconalis

    If 4 beams strong enough to secure this thing to the ground were installed around it, I think it would be better. The beams could keep it in place, and the buoyancy could keep it floating above the water. My only concern if whether the water pressure would keep it below the waves or not.

  • 0

    steve@CPFC

    Move further inland and forget about this stuff.

  • 0

    Weasel

    Wonder how effective these escape pods are if its passengers are buried under a mound of debris or mud?

  • 0

    FernandoUchiyama

    It would be much more convenient if Toyota, Honda and Nissan could produce cars that you could go into to protect against Tsunamis.

  • -2

    cnc

    LOOK....they even have a pole in there for entertainment.

  • 0

    It"S ME

    Interesting concept but lacks a LOT of vital features, like an electronic beacon that it can be found in case it gets stuck somewhere.

    Don't see any storage space for food, waste disposal, etc that might be needed and too small to stretch out a bit in case you are stuck in there for more than a few minutes(reminds me of some medieval tortures.

  • 2

    Colleen Rain

    Seriously? As if the human body would survive the enormous battering a tsunami would inflict on this? It's a ball and somehow, miraculously the air holes would stay above water, not become submerged because all the weight is in one place, i.e. opposite the air holes? It looks like a good solution to the body bag problem, however. Just make sure you write your name on the outside before you climb in and drown.

  • 0

    Mr. Bill

    Japan's answer to next tsunami: a mini-Noah's Ark

    No. No. NO! This is one Japanese company's answer. Most Japanese have no idea this product exists.

  • 1

    PT24881

    "smithinjapanOCT. 02, 2011 - 04:49PM JST You would think that in many cases if they have the time to climb in and get comfy in a tennis ball they have the time to get to safer ground. Maybe not, by probably in some cases..."

    Interesting idea indeed at least as a primitive basic model at US$3500 apiece ( affordable for most families ) and presuming that 50% of the owners can manage to climb in ( training lessons can help improve the time ) within 30 seconds.. Superior models at higher cost can provide better equipment & trims or simply add on protective shell against radioactivity..

    Space to store it may be a concern in big cities, probably easier for village dwellers in houses located in coastal towns ?

    Most importantly, this idea, if generalized, can simply offer a last resort ( at least psychologically ) of self protection ?

  • 0

    mrivers

    Does this mean that people do believe in Noah's Ark and that the vessel on Mt Ararat, Turkey did save people from a world wide flood? If so, the rest of the book is true too.

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