Just in time for the Big One, ‘Tsunami balls’ almost ready

It tethers to the ground and rises and falls with the water

Tsunami balls could save lives after the Big One is a large tsunami hits the Oregon coast. November 1, 2016, (Survival-Capsule.Com)
Tsunami balls could save lives after the Big One is a large tsunami hits the Oregon coast. November 1, 2016, (Survival-Capsule.Com)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With the Big One just days, weeks, months or years away, a new invention could help protect those living along the Oregon coast, and it’s called the “Tsunami ball.”

Six years ago while vacationing on the Oregon coast, engineer Julian Sharpe came up with the idea for his Survival Capsule. It tethers to the ground and rises and falls with the water. They’re designed to handle large impacts, fire and other tsunami-related damage, Sharpe said.

“We hope to start selling officially in Japan in the first half of next year,” Sharpe said. “As far as the domestic market is concerned, we have decided to launch the two-person capsule next month officially.”

The first U.S. Survival Capsule will be installed on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington, according to Sharpe.

The Tsunami balls are made by hand, and two-person models cost between $13,000 and $15,000. If there is demand, Sharpe said they can be mass-produced with a robotic assembly line. This would bring down costs.

Sharpe is looking into financing and leasing options so he can get the capsules into economically-challenged communities along the coast.

“We have every intention of looking at ways of bringing the price down, but also looking at ways of financing,” Sharpe said. “So you have, small monthly payments, almost like an insurance.”