Jonathan Fincher for Gizmag.com
Anyone who has been through earthquake drills in school knows the standard defense against falling debris is for students to crawl under their desks. Unfortunately, while this might block a few pieces of stray drywall and glass, a wooden desk isn’t going to withstand the crushing weight from large chunks of concrete or steel. In fact, people hiding under their desks could very likely become trapped with no way out. That’s why two designers have developed an “earthquake-proof” desk that can absorb the impact of up to a ton of weight and even provide emergency routes for rescue crews to reach trapped students.
The two students submitted the design for the end of year Design Extravaganza in Milan after submitting it to tests including dropping 1 Tonne blocks of steel and concrete onto the tables from above. In every case the table top was destroyed, but the structure of the table remained intact, potentially protecting anybody sheltering underneath. When arranged in rows, as they would be in classrooms, the tables create ‘tunnels’ for either escape or easy access for the Emergency Services.
The design works by integrating ‘crumple zones’ into the structure of the tables, visible in the above picture as the red posts at the top of the table legs. This distributes the force of falling debris to the ends of the table, traditionally the strongest part as the legs are just underneath.
The students; Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno are currently awaiting a patent and an approval by the Padua University before they can begin shipping their innovation to the world’s disaster zones.
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