Disaster looming? Jump into your evac lemon

A small company in Japan hopes its egg-shaped emergency shelters can help people in floods and other disasters.

The Noah is bright yellow so it can be easily seen in a disaster. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

If you have nowhere to run in a typhoon, flood, tsunami, or earthquake, break out the evacuation lemon.

The Noah personal evacuation shelter is an oblong sphere that can fit four adults. It will automatically right itself in water and stay afloat if carried off by a tsunami.

Made in Japan from tough fiberglass-reinforced plastic, it can take blows from a 220-pound iron block and survive a 33-foot drop into water.

The Noah weighs about 150 pounds, is about 5 feet across, and has an interior pole for support.

Cosmopower, a small environmental projects company in Kanagawa southwest of Tokyo, has received more than 500 orders for the shelter, the Asahi Shimbun reported. It will sell for roughly $3,950.


Cosmopower President Shoji Tanaka came up with the concept four years ago. The firm received many inquiries after the March 11 earthquake and tsunamis that battered northern Japan.

"I hope the Noah shelters will serve as a contemporary version of Noah's Ark," the Asahi quoted Tanaka as saying.

A production model for the shelter, which has air ducts and a small window, was completed earlier this month. It's now undergoing outside testing.

There's a sledgehammer test in the Japanese video below (at about 1:50).

Cosmopower is also planning other egg-like shelters, including a large 12-person sphere with a UFO design.

Maybe it should make floating houses out of plastic too.

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