Earthquake vs. Desk

Most earthquake deaths result from collapsing buildings and objects. Stronger buildings are the best safeguard, but the steep cost makes them an unrealistic option for cash-strapped regions.

Photo by Ido Bruno.

Image credit: Ido Bruno

A cheaper alternative is reinforced furniture -- for example, people can take cover under special desks during earthquakes -- but conventional earthquake-resistant desks run thousands of dollars, a price still out of the reach of many impoverished areas. Plus, such furniture usually weighs too much to move: unattractive for dynamic settings like schools.

Enter Israeli student Arthur Brutter, who has helped design a 57 lb. desk capable of stopping just over a ton of falling weight -- and the desk costs just $70! Made with a wooden surface supported by steel tubes, the desk's framework spreads and absorbs the force of an impact, while shielding up to two people.

Some commenters have pointed out flaws with the desk's design, namely 1) that the drop height wasn't specified and 2) that the desk would offer inadequate protection against objects with lateral movement. Even so, the desk seems to be a practical stopgap for people who need immediate protection against earthquakes but can't yet afford more effective measures.

You can watch the desk in action here:

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