Keeping Afloat

By Kate Hassett

Keeping Afloat
This incredible device could revolutionise the way we approach disaster relief.

Designers Zhou Ying and Niu Yuntao were inspired by the alarming rate of natural disasters and rising sea levels.

Compelled to create an answer to frustrating disaster relief procedures, the design team came up with the idea for the ‘Duckweed Survival House’.

An enclosed, floating shelter, the design ensures the greatest chance of survival and assistance during natural disasters involving large bodies of water – like floods or tsunamis.

During such emergencies, the ability for people to remain above water is paramount to safety and survival.

This is where the ‘Duckweed Survival House’ comes into play.

Despite the unpredictability of natural disasters, the survival house is designed to be able to withstand erratic sea levels, as well as changing tides and severity – staying upright with occupants inside, just like a liferaft.

The stem beneath the device is fitted with a gas tank which allows for both stability in keeping the house upright, as well as filtration of seawater to provide drinking water in times of emergency.

The Duckweed Survival House converts seawater into freshwater through a reverse osmosis film near the base of the stem.

Fresh air is supplied to the occupants from the top of the device via an air vent. When emergency strikes, the device can be inflated in seconds, providing a quick and easy response to stressful situations.

In times of more severe weather conditions, multiple houses can be clustered together to provide more stability and visibility. Designed in bright colours, the houses are meant to maintain high levels of visibility so emergency services can reach them. As night falls, the fluorescent markers glow, providing high-visibility to fellow evacuees and rescue services.

This innovative device is still in its infancy, but with proper funding and support from emergency relief funds, the Duckweed Survival House could potentially save millions of lives






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