We see it regularly on our TV sets and in online news stories. A family’s home is standing strong and firm one day, and then the next day it’s been flattened by a tornado or hurricane.
The family is devastated and has nowhere to go. They have no other family in the area and can’t afford to stay in a hotel for more than a couple of nights. They might be able to set up a tent, but that’s hardly a suitable solution. It looks like a FEMA center is their only option until the insurance company can get their home rebuilt.
Someday soon, however, some families might have another choice. A company called Visible Good, selected by the U.S. Army through a grant program to design an extreme weather shelter, has created a Rapid Deployment Module (RDM). This nine-foot by 14-foot base unit can be assembled in about 25 minutes with no tools or training necessary. None of the pieces weighs more than 20 pounds.
It’s projected to last 10-20 years, with the exception of the roof, which will probably need replacing in three to five years. The RDM has hard walls, insulation and locking doors like a conventional building, but it’s compact and packs into its own floor. This makes it easy to ship to places such as the Gulf of Mexico, where some RDMs are currently being used in the oil spill cleanup efforts.
Currently, the cost is $15,500 for the base unit, but I’m guessing that price would come down (perhaps significantly) if they start to mass produce them for individuals. The base unit is designed so that it can attach to other prototype units, including a shower unit and a latrine unit, sort of like legos.
Tell me what you think of the Rapid Deployment Module. Is this the type of thing you might be interested in purchasing once the price comes down? What do you see as the advantages or disadvantages of owning something like an RDM? I’d love to hear from you about this.