04. 11. 2007
Bring along an Ersa for emergencies
From the land of the great Outback comes this innovation that could literally save your life. What looks like a briefcase straight out of a spy thriller is in fact a portable source of solar power that can also be used to collect water for survival purposes. The brainchild of Scott Norrie, it's targeted at outdoor lovers who might find themselves abruptly stranded in a less than hospitable environment.
Ersa uses in-built solar panels to charge a lithium battery. This can be used in turn to charge portable devices like a mobile phone or GPS unit, trickle-charge a flat vehicle battery or (and I think this is the niftiest survival trick of all) drain air to collect condensed water for drinking. The battery takes about 8 hours to charge and produces about 100 ml of water per hour. This probably doesn't sound like much, but it's meant for survival purposes only.
Ersa's about the size of a large briefcase and can be easily stowed along with other gear in a 4WD or other outdoor vehicle. It's designed to be a stand-alone sustainable device that can be used intuitively - it simply opens up to expose the solar panels to the sun. A contender in the Australian Design Awards (Student Award), it's not available commercially yet, but would easily be a boon to travellers, aid workers and other folks whose jobs put them in remote places.