'Tsunami Survival Capsule' Inventor, Julian Sharpe, Plans To Ride Device Over Niagara Falls

02/22/2013 04:50 pm ET | Updated Feb 22, 2013
Survival Capsule LLC

A Seattle inventor plans to test his "tsunami survival capsule" with a plunge over Niagara Falls, according to the Mirror UK.

Julian Sharpe, 50, expects the landing will feel like "being rear-ended at 20 miles per hour," the report states.

Sharpe, an aerospace engineer originally from Wales, has built two aluminum prototypes of the tsunami capsule, one of which he presented at the Yokohama Expo, Seattle's King 5 News reported. The vehicles are equipped with food and special air vents.

He told The Huffington Post that larger versions are on the way and will cost between $8,000 and $10,000. They will be suitable for businesses, airports, hospitals and schools, he said. The buoyant, caged orb is painted orange so it can be easily spotted at sea.

The 2011 Japanese tsunami spurred Sharpe into action, according to his Survival Capsule homepage. He began with sketches and eventually graduated to a 3D CAD model and finally a watercraft that he hopes will save thousands in another disaster.

Sharpe told WalesOnline that 135 countries could get hit by a tsunami wave, so the market is there. Models that seat four and six people would be intended for the United States, where 7 million people are vulnerable to tsunamis, he said.

He explained that the capsule's spherical shape is ideal for absorbing impact if the craft were to be tossed around and collide with debris.

As for his maiden run over Niagara Falls, Sharpe told WalesOnline that he'll do two trials -- the first one with a crash-test dummy, of course. He told HuffPost he hopes to make the attempt late in the year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sharpe has company in the survival-pod business. In anticipation of the Mayan apocalypse, a Chinese farmer built large round balls for people to live through the unthinkable. The unthinkable didn't happen, but the farmer said there would always be another tsunami or shipwreck in which to use them.

Check out some of the building stages on Sharpe's Facebook page and a prototype stress test here.

tsunami survival capsule
Julian Sharpe's "tsunami survival capsule" is 7 feet in diameter and painted orange to be easily spotted at sea.

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