Chris Robinson with the Tsunami Ball, under construction.
Chris Robinson with the Tsunami Ball, under construction.

Tsunami Ball

A 22-foot-long ark to weather nature's biggest storms

Kip Malone

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Like the rest of us, Chris Robinson was terrified when he saw the tsunami crash into Japan in 2011. So to protect against a similar event in his hometown of Palo Alto, he decided to build a tsunami-proof capsule in his backyard.

Dubbed the Tsunami Ball, the floating unit is constructed mostly from plywood and is shaped more like a hoagie sandwich than a sphere. All told, it’s 22 feet long, airtight, and built to withstand a serious beating. 

The Ball is still in progress, but once it’s finished, Robinson will test his invention in the Pacific, then return it to his backyard and rent it out on AirBnB. He'll also post the blueprint and construction instructions online for anyone who wants to build a survival pod of their own. 


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