As the threat of natural disasters increases, a US company is selling Survival Capsules that it claims can withstand tsunamis, earthquakes and other calamities. The spherical pod made of aluminium can protect people inside it from drowning or getting crushed. It can withstand extreme pressure, heat and force from waves, the Survival Capsule website says, adding that the shell can be customised to hold more people and families. The pod also comes in bright colours so rescue and relief workers can spot it from afar during a disaster. Besides, it has a watertight door, bulletproof circular windows, air vents and tanks, and water storage along with other supplies. “The sphere will withstand the initial impact of a natural disaster, as well as sharp object penetration, heat exposure, blunt object impact, and rapid deceleration,” the Survival Capsule website claims. Picture courtesy: Survival Capsule websiteWashington state’s Jean Johnson was the first buyer to purchase the Survival Capsule, which costs a whopping $13,500, reported Seattle Times earlier in February. Johnson, a Microsoft employee from New Orleans, told the newspaper the thought of testing the capsule was “terrible” but she bought it “to give me peace of mind, so I can sleep at night and not worry”. Julian Sharpe, aeronautical engineer who graduated from the Loughborough University of Technology in England in 1985, conceived the idea of creating the Survival Capsule after the 2004 earthquake-tsunami in which at least 2 lakh died or were missing. Sharpe says he would use the capsule, which has been patented, for his family. Sharpe has previously worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Alenia Aermacchi, Telair International, according to his LinkedIn profile.Picture courtesy: Survival Capsule websiteBut critics have doubts over the capsule’s ability to withstand disasters since there are no market rules to ensure that such devices actually work. Charles Wallace, deputy director of Grays Harbor County Emergency Management, questions: “What if you get stuck under debris, or something tears it and it leaks?” In 2011, a fibreglass Noah capsule that could float on water and hold four adults during tsunamis and hurricanes was marketed by a Japanese company after a magnitude-9 earthquake hit northeastern Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000.