These practical yet savvy ideas may save lives during future floods
Will there be floods or no floods? No one knows for sure.
While we are living in uncertainty, a group of designers have worked out some ideas that, when fully developed, will help make our lives less miserable and may even save lives if we face another disaster.
The ideas recently won awards at the "Design for Flood" contest, organised by the Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC).
The award-winning works, with potential to be developed as prototypes, come in seven types _ a water monitoring system, a public toilet, an emergency signage system, floating furniture for schools, a foldable boat for travelling during flooding, a vegetable garden kit and a disease diagnosis kit.
Water Monitoring System
by Oasys Research Group, Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Computer Engineering The development of this system is based on a typical problem for flood victims _ the lack of accurate information on water levels and how soon the water will reach the community, making it difficult to decide when to move out.
To monitor the water's movement and levels, the machine will check water pressure and velocity with its sensor and send the information to its server through GSM module (mobile phone signal). The "water map" information will appear on the internet.
by Tanakul Workgroup Co, Ltd.
This toilet, situated on a pontoon, is a "knock down" facility that makes it easy for transportation to flooded areas. The system is designed to make it possible to separate solid waste from urine, while the waste container can be detached from the main toilet for treatment.
Emergency Signage System
also by Tanakul Workgroup Co, Ltd. Floods can isolate an affected community, depriving it of assistance. The emergency signage system consists of a device made by household items, and a handbook. The idea is to enable flood victims to call for help. The set comprises a length of rope, adhesive tape, marker pens, three types of sign plates, a corrugated plastic box (A2 size) and either A4 paper or a canvas. Each sign plate will contain the house location (latitude and longitude) and a number of words showing the needs of flood victims, such as food, drinking water and medicine. Flood victims will mark their needs as well as the conditions they are facing on the sign plate. Those with a smart phone and signal can use a designated app to take a photo of the sign plate and send it to the flood help centre. The app will translate the mark that is painted on the sign plate into a word and send to a flood relief centre. If the flood victims can't use their mobile, they can hang a larger sign plate that is screened on a corrugated plastic box in front of their home or do it in a "message in the bottle" way, letting it flow with the flood. If someone sees this box, they can take a picture and send it through email or send the box to the flood help centre. House owners can also place a sign plate on a large canvas on their house roof to attract attention. However, flood victims should not forget to put the latitude and longitude of their house on the sign plate, and those who don't know their GPS location are advised to add their cellphone number.
Floating Furniture for Schools
by Flat 6 Studio
Last year's floods caused tremendous damage to school furniture, especially to desks and chairs. This special design is made of light, humidity resistant, waterproof materials that are easy to clean. The set can also be adapted for other purposes. For example, when stacked, it will provide a place to keep things away from floods.
by Nuttapong Thammaruksasit
Commuting during the flood is one of the major issues for people in affected areas, so creating a private vehicle is an essential concept. The boat is made of lightweight material that can keep balance in the water and can be folded into the size of a bag. Its paddles can also check for electric currents in the water.
Vegetable Garden Kit
by Yotsawadee Luetrakulset Many flood victims last year experienced a food shortage and the vegetable-gardening kit is designed to prevent that. The easy-to-use kit comes in calendar size with a handbook that explains the process so any user can plant vegetables.
Disease Diagnosis Kit
by Vatcharanont Kongchatthai During the flood, many people found it difficult to commute to the nearest doctor's clinic when they were sick. The disease diagnosis kit is designed to provide information about water-borne diseases. This kit comes with a chart of diseases so the user can diagnose themselves before seeing a doctor. The kit also provides basic treatments. The completed prototype of this design will be highly beneficial to flood victims in remote areas.
These seven winning designs will be developed alongside design specialists, and later made into prototypes. The proto-types are expected to be completed in September and later displayed in a yet-to-be announced exhibition.
By Paiait Sukhtipyaroge
28 June 2012