Disaster Relief for the Digital Age: 13 Innovative Ideas

October 7, 2011 by  
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[ By Steph in Art & Design & Technology & Gadgets . ] What if an unmanned robot that looks like a distant cousin of Optimus Prime could respond to a meltdown at a nuclear plant, reducing the number of human lives lost? Imagine all-terrain emergency response vehicles that can shift from ultra-fast two-seaters to trucks full of precious supplies within minutes, and prefabricated shelters that can hook onto the outside of damaged skyscrapers with the help of a helicopter. Is this the future of disaster relief? These 13 incredibly creative concepts inspire hope for the ways in which we can deal with catastrophe as technology progresses. Digital Origami Emergency Shelter (images via: evolo.us ) Design firm LAVA bases this concept for a prefabricated emergency shelter on the water molecule. The modular design can either be shipped flat-pack, dropped off fully assembled by helicopter or built on-site out of local plywood. Each unit houses two adults and one child with sleeping, eating and reading space. By night, the shelter is illuminated by way of an LED light, shining as “a sign of hope.” Fractal Prefab Eco Village (images via: shradhabhandari.com ) Highly versatile, sustainable and self-sufficient, the fractal structure of this prefabricated emergency shelter concept by Shradha Bhandari enables it to adjust to nearly any landscape, fitting in among trees or clinging to uneven terrain. It includes openings for light and air, and its sloped rooftop panels enable both solar panel installation and collection of rainwater, which would be channeled into underground reservoirs. Healing Bench by Adrian Candela (images via: tuvie ) Incredibly compact, the Healing Bench converts from a backpack to an operating bench, and it even holds a blanket and medical kit so that emergency workers can carry important tools to disaster sites hands-free. It’s made with the same materials and construction as a kayak so that it’s durable and able to float. Cardborigami Corrugated Fold-Out Shelter (images via: envirogadget ) We don’t tend to think of cardboard as being water-resistant, flame resistant or particularly strong – so it’s not a likely candidate for disaster housing. However, designer Tine Hovsepian has figured out a way to defy these assumptions with Cardborigami, a corrugated cardboard structure that has been scored so that it can fold flat or expand into a tent-like shelter. While extremely basic, it is meant as a temporary place to sleep until better shelter conditions are available. Self-Contained Mobile Emergency Unit (images via: evolo.us ) One of the biggest challenges for emergency responders is a lack of water and power on-site. The EDV-01 solves that problem by collecting up to 20 liters of potable water from the air each day – enough for two adults to live on. A rooftop solar system and fuel cell generates power for the unit. Even more impressive is the fact that this stainless steel container requires no on-site construction at all; a hydraulic pump raises the walls to form a second floor with the flip of a switch. Four hydraulic feet allow it to sit on uneven terrain. A.N.T. Disaster Response Vehicles (images via: tuvie.com ) Inspired by an ant’s ability to carry 10-50 times its own body weight across broad distances at a fast pace, A.N.T. – Aid Necessities Transporter – could help the United Nations and other relief organizations to reach remote disaster locations. The ground clearance of the three-wheeled vehicle can be adjusted either for speed or rough terrain, and a small passenger pod lifts up to accommodate a large load of supplies. Reaction Housing System – Rapid Response Shelter (images via: reactionhousingsystem.com ) Made up of compact pre-fabricated individual living units for four people called Exos, the Reaction Housing System can be assembled into interconnected spaces and costs just $5,000 per unit, much less than many other similar disaster housing solutions. Four beds fold against the walls when not in use, and there are four generator-powered outlets for electronics. 20 flat-pack Exos can fit on a single 53-foot semi-truck trailer and 1,940 can be transported via one freight train to provide housing for an impressive 7,760 people. RISE: Post-Disaster Parasitic Shelters (images via: evolo.us ) If a natural disaster hits a highly populated urban area with very little ground space – like, for example, Sao Paulo, the most populous city in the Americas – standard emergency shelters may not be much help. This innovative design by Mike Reyes actually hooks new temporary living space onto existing high-rise structures. The units would be flown in via helicopter and, with the help of survivors inside the skyscrapers, would be hooked onto the interior lip of a window, held securely by the force it creates on the exterior walls of the building. Each unit contains 4 beds, desks, skylights, windows, a water funnel and purer and the option of solar cells. They even have outdoor patios that allow neighboring units to connect. Portable Disaster Pod by Jonathan Ferrer (images via: coroflot ) A protective, portable egg-shaped pod could be dropped down to disaster sites, quickly folding out into a tripod shape with a second layer of legs. An orange nylon rip-stop shield resists water and wind, enlarging the space. Containers to Clinics: Shipping Crate Medical Complexes (images via: inhabitat) Already providing much-needed care in Haiti, Containers to Clinics could represent the future in economical, easy-to-deploy medical complexes that save the lives of disaster victims. Two separate shipping containers make up one full-service clinic with examination rooms and labs; the 8′ by 20′ crates are, of course, easily transported by ship. SEED: Shipping Container Emergency Housing (images via: cusa-dds.net ) Another concept that makes use of shipping containers – in this case, reclaiming used ones – is SEED, a project of researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina that aims to provide safe housing for disaster victims as quickly as possible. Shipping containers are naturally resistant to earthquakes and are fit as long-term housing, making them an ideal solution for seismic events in poor Caribbean nations like Haiti where survivors may not be able to afford to rebuild. Bull Frog: Mobile Medical Supplies for Any Terrain (images via: tuvie.com ) Not only does this seemingly simple pull-cart help doctors carry crucial medical supplies into disaster areas, even over rough terrain, but it folds out into a work station, allowing victims to take a seat on a bench while being treated. This compact clinic-to-go could make the work of emergency responders much easier and more efficient, and seems as if it would be fairly economical to produce. GSR Disaster Relief Robot (images via: coroflot ) Like something out of Transformers, the GSR Disaster Relief Robot is by far the most futuristic concept on this list. Designer Daniel Shankland II imagines a towering machine that can enter dangerous situations to aid disaster victims without putting disaster responders at risk. Imagine the lives that such a creation could have saved if it were deployed, for example, to the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in the wake of this year’s tsunami. Want More? Click for Great Related Content on WebEcoist: Design (for) Disaster: 14 Emergency Shelter Concepts Forget flimsy white tent cities. Housing for refugees and disaster survivors should be like these 14 designs: durable, comfortable, adaptable & eco-friendly. 1 Comment – Click Here to Read More »» Great Crates: 3 Cool Cases of Shipping Container Reuse A zero-waste pop-up restaurant, a chic and colorful guest house and a cool new concept for Boy Scout camp cabins are 3 new examples of shipping container reuse. 1 Comment – Click Here to Read More »» Disaster-Proof Architecture: 13 Super-Strong Structures These 13 structures, from homes to entire cities, are designed to stand up to nature’s harshest disasters including earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. 1 Comment – Click Here to Read More »» [ By Steph in Art & Design & Technology & Gadgets . ] [ WebEcoist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]

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Disaster Relief for the Digital Age: 13 Innovative Ideas

DIY Decor Inspiration: 14 Eco Crafts for the Home

July 25, 2011 by  
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[ By Steph in Art & Design & Home & Garden . ] Hang a wreath on your door made from the pages of unwanted books, custom-color your own vases and mason jars, turn torn doilies into a pretty hanging lamp or organize your jewelry with a reclaimed rake. These 14 fun, crafty DIY projects for the home transform cast-off materials into stylish new decorative items. Custom Colored Mason Jars (images via: creative little daisy ) Vintage blue mason jars can make a pretty addition to home decor, but a single jar – once tossed away as junk – can cost as much as $12 at an antique store. This tutorial, by Creative Little Daisy , shows you how to glaze clear jars and vases in any color you want using nothing more than Mod Podge glue and food coloring. Branch Candle Holders (images via: fossil blog ) Add rustic beauty to your mantle with twig candle holders. This DIY project is simple and natural, using just a flat candle holder (check thrift stores!), garden pruners, craft adhesive and dry tree or shrub branches of your choosing. The same concept could be used on vases or other decorative items. Tiered Cupcake Stand (images via: giverslog ) Cupcake stands are a fun and dramatic way to show off these confectionery creations, but it makes no sense to spend a lot on one if you’re not a frequent baker. Thankfully, it’s cheap and easy to turn the plates of your choice (preferably secondhand, to make this an eco-friendly project) into a tiered display rack that’s customized to your tastes. A tutorial from GiversLog uses decorative drawer pulls and items from the hardware store to create an interchangeable stand, so you can switch out the plates according to the occasion. Round Lace Lantern (images vía: dos family ) Lace doilies aren’t exactly fashionable home decor any more, but if you’ve still got some laying around – even if they’re ripped and otherwise unusable – they can be turned into a pretty globe lantern using glue and a balloon. Other items that might work include lace handkerchiefs and tablecloths. Recycled Barrel Planter (images via: design sponge ) Design Sponge will show you how to create this rustic tiered planter for your porch or deck using a half barrel and wood from old pallets. You’ll need a jigsaw, a compound miter saw and a power screwdriver. The result looks almost identical to those pre-made ones that can cost hundreds of dollars. Fabric-Covered Pots (images via: ashley ann photography ) Got old, ugly flower pots hanging around? You can totally change their look with some scrap fabric and Mod Podge glue. This is a great way to use small fabric leftovers or clothing items that have been torn or otherwise damaged beyond repair. Each one takes just a few minutes to create, using the instructions by Christine Chitnis . Crocheted Swiffer Sock (images via: crafty stylish ) Yes, those Swiffer pads work really well to get things like pet hair up off the floor. But that shouldn’t mean you have to keep buying the disposable cotton pads, creating unnecessary household waste. Just crochet your own, if you’re handy, using this tutorial by CraftyStylish – or try any of these other 13 ways to make your own Swiffer socks, listed by Consumerist . Wine Cork Bath Mat (images via: craftynest ) As if you needed another excuse to crack open a bottle of wine as often as possible, this cool project from CraftyNest gives you a way to use all of those corks. A naturally soft, water-resistant material, cork is perfect for bath mats. CraftyNest’s instructions involve hot-gluing the corks to a non-adhesive shelf liner, which acts as a floor-gripping base. Magazine Baskets (images via: how about orange ) Out-of-date magazines can be given new life as colorful baskets simply by folding the pages and weaving them together. The website How About Orange explains how to use narrow strips of magazine pages and glue dots or double-stick tape for baskets that can be tailored to your preferred color scheme. Rose Wreath Made of Book Pages (images via: by stephanie lynn ) Love all things literary? Proclaim it to everyone who enters your home with a gorgeous wreath made of book pages. Crafter Stephanie Lynn explains how to cut pages from an old, unwanted book into swirls that you can shape into roses and secure to a wreath form with hot glue. The same idea can be used to create individual roses for other projects, like adorning wrapped gifts. Upside-Down Planters (images via: design sponge ) Upside-down planters are an eye-catching way to grow plants indoors or out, but the ones on the market tend to be less than aesthetically appealing. Design Sponge will show you how to make your own using coffee cans or plastic bottles, wire hangers and the fabric scraps of your choice. Rake Jewelry Organizer (image via: sarahndipities ) What a brilliant way to wrangle that tangle of jewelry that’s likely clogging up your drawer or sitting in a messy pile on top of the dresser. Old rake heads are easy to come by in flea markets, antique stores or at the junkyard, and turning them into jewelry organizers is as simple as adding a piece of string. T-Shirt Grocery Bag (images via: ecouterre ) Making your own reusable shopping bags has never been easier than this. Old t-shirts with moth holes, stains or unwanted designs make stretchy, colorful totes with minimal sewing. Check out the tutorial at Ecouterre . Vintage Trophy Coat Rack (images via: design sponge ) Can you imagine how many trophies with sayings like ‘Potato Sack Race Champion’ there are poking out of landfills around the world? This fun coat rack salvages the little metallic figures that adorn unwanted vintage trophies for a quirky addition to the foyer or mudroom. Want More? Click for Great Related Content on WebEcoist: Novel Ideas: Books as Furniture & Functional Décor Books that are out-of-date and just plain unwanted are given value as decorative and functional objects in the home including lamps, sofas, desks and planters. Click Here to Read More »» Booze it Up! 13 Rad Recycled Bottle Crafts & Projects Transform your empty beer, wine and liquor bottles into lamps, bird feeders, shelving units, wind chimes – even a solar water heater or a house. 3 Comments – Click Here to Read More »» Pretty Smart: Great Green Gift & Product Packaging The best eco-friendly packaging for gifts and products is not just highly efficient and made of recycled or natural materials, but presentable, too. 1 Comment – Click Here to Read More »» [ By Steph in Art & Design & Home & Garden . ] [ WebEcoist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]

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DIY Decor Inspiration: 14 Eco Crafts for the Home

Well Trained: 7 Amazing Animal Stationmasters of Japan

May 3, 2011 by  
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[ By Steve in 7 Wonders Series & Animals & Habitats & Transit & Auto . ] Japan’s many iron horses may no longer be fronted with cow-catchers, but a different sort of critter awaits those who visit some very special train stations far off the beaten track.

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Well Trained: 7 Amazing Animal Stationmasters of Japan

Get Tanked: Fabulous Faux Swimming Pool Illusions

May 3, 2011 by  
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[ By Delana in Art & Design & Technology & Gadgets & Tricks & Hacks . ] There are few things more delightful than a dip in a cool pool on a hot summer day – but there is definitely something different about these swimming pools.

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Get Tanked: Fabulous Faux Swimming Pool Illusions

Red Tides: When Tiny, Toxic, Single-Celled Animals Attack!

March 29, 2011 by  
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[ By Steve in Animals & Habitats & Food & Health & Nature & Ecosystems . ] Red tides kill huge schools of fish, poison oyster and shellfish beds, and leave swimmers’ skin itchy, irritated and inflamed.

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Red Tides: When Tiny, Toxic, Single-Celled Animals Attack!

You Can Sit 12 Different Ways On The Loop Transformer Chair

September 16, 2010 by  
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images via Designboom Imagine what Mel Brooks could do with this; instead of The Twelve Chairs, he just gets one transformer chair that can work twelve different ways. DesignBoom shows Boaz Mendel’ s Loop Chair can be reassembled as a bar stool, a chaise-longue, a dining chair, any one of 12 different combinations. This might fit right in to

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You Can Sit 12 Different Ways On The Loop Transformer Chair

Switch Me! And Feel The Pain Of Our Planet

March 4, 2010 by  
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images via Designboom That is what French designer Josselin Zaïgouche says about his novel, if unusual, way to reduce power consumption….

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Switch Me! And Feel The Pain Of Our Planet

Hit Or Miss? The Light Tree Combines Solar Street Lighting and Planters

March 4, 2010 by  
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Image via Yanko Design This seems like a slightly more Alice In Wonderland, slightly less majestic version of Ross Lovegrove’s solar tree-like streetlights , but designer Omar Ivan Huerta Cardoso is giving fake-tree-solar-streetlighting a go with the Light Tree. This one, however, has a few real sprouts incorporated into the design, which is nice – but can that overcome some of the other problematic design flaws?… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Hit Or Miss? The Light Tree Combines Solar Street Lighting and Planters

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