Aug. 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM ET
A Japanese company has developed a wooden canopy bed that doubles as an earthquake shelter. It serves as protection from a collapsing wall in a home that hasn’t been renovated to survive severe shaking.
The frame is constructed out of cypress wood, which is known for its hardiness and durability. The bed passed a 65-ton load-bearing test, according to Japanese video news site DigInfo TV.
The company behind the bed, Shinko Industries, says that while the best route to protection is making a home's structure less susceptible to collapse during a quake, such renovations are costly.
The cheaper route is the Wood Luck bed. "Cheap," is of course relative. This costs $5,600, a company spokesman told DigInfo.
Most inquiries for the product come from elderly people living in wood frame houses, but the concept sounds prudent for anyone living in areas with a high chance of earthquakes, since many people don't have the money (or the ownership rights) to quake-proof their homes.
The final threshold is style. Research shows that affordable disaster-proof housing technologies often don’t fit the cultural preferences of communities that need them. As a result, they aren’t adopted.
If the Wood Luck turns out to be fashionable as well as safe, then the world may gain some well-rested earthquake survivors. And that’s a good thing.
— via DigInfo TV