NIN: Tell us a little bit about Haven.
Michelle: The Haven is a deployable tent that can be dispatched to areas that have just been through a natural disaster.
"What happens to the victims? What happens to the people? Where do they get aid and food and water, and who provides them with that?" The Haven provides victims with both shelter and potable water.
NIN: What inspired the design?
Michelle: The design was actually inspired by an umbrella. An umbrella is used by everybody across the world. You would just pop [the tent] up before the sun goes down, and by the time you wake up in the morning the dew has already formed on the top portion of the tent. The dew would simply fall into the container and it's ready to be used.
I found this beetle that lives in the middle of this desert in Africa. This beetle gets its main source of water by sitting patiently every morning in the middle of the desert until dew forms on its back. It would just tilt its back up and the water would just simply slide into the beetle's mouth. Taken from that bio-mimicry, or that inspiration from nature, I created the dew harvesting system.
Teflon coating is a hydrophobic element so it's a really efficient way to get every drop of that dew. Basically these tents can be deployed by vans or helicopters really easily. They're pretty lightweight because they're made out of a nylon material. I think one adult would be able to carry one tent. The diameter of the tent I believe is from seven to eight feet. Comfortably, it would fit two to three people but I think you could fit up to four to five.
The survival rule of thumb, I've found, is that it's really crucial to get victims shelter within three hours, water within three days, and food within three weeks; but ideally it's important to get the victims water within 24 hours to increase their chances of survival.
I entered this project in the annual competition by RSA and they actually selected this project for one of the finalists. I was obviously really grateful and pleased that they selected my project for the finalist. To see The Haven come to life and actually helping people, providing them with shelter and water, it would be great to see that become a reality.
NIN: If you could render something "Not Impossible," what would it be?
Going back to basics and appreciating what we have: water, food, the people that we love, and focusing on that rather than the things that we don't have.
Featured image above of the Namibian beetle sourced from BiomimicrySwitzerland.org