Julian Sharpe, an American engineer from the city of Mukilteo, Washington, came up with the idea of creating a tsunami survival capsule while he was on vacation at the seaside, as he was wondering how he would survive a tsunami. Two years later, after research and testing, his company sent its first tsunami capsules to Japan.
“We are developing new products,” Sharpe said. “We are developing a market. We are having to change people’s mindsets in regard to tsunamis. What I mean by that is ride the tsunami out – rather than run.”
“We put the aluminum capsules through hell and back,” Sharpe said, “but they stood up to everything.” The capsules were crushed, dropped, pierced with sharp objects and heated to 1,200 degrees, he said.
Sharpe’s company IDEA International has 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 person capsules for sale, and they come with options on the number of windows and survival gear. “There are some suggestions of a surround-sound system so you can listen to Mozart when you are getting hammered by the tsunami,” Sharpe said with his tongue firmly in cheek. There is plenty of room in each capsule for survival gear, air, water and other supplies. Each capsule has about 60 minutes of air. The seats are modified car racing seats with four-point harnesses to provide stability, according to the international press.
A two-seat capsule costs between $12,000 and $15,000. “I see this as a life insurance policy, not really a toy or anything like that,” Sharpe said. “It is a way of allowing you to have that existence on the coastal plain or on the waterfront and not have to worry quite so much about the threats from the ocean.”
The capsules will be on display at an emergency expo in Japan in August.