Real shelter for real people
According to the UN, 45 million people around the world have been displaced from their homes due to natural disaster or armed conflicts. The World Health Organization has officially acknowledged that women are disproportionately affected by disasters: they are more likely to die, suffer from violence, and not get the adequate care they need to rebuild their lives.
I witnessed this in my own country during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After three days of watching people crowd into the inhumane conditions of the New Orleans Superdome and Houston Astrodome (where families were separated from each other) I felt a call to action. I never thought that a styrofoam coffee cup would inspire the solution.
But this cup was the perfect inspiration for a portable, secure, stackable shelter. I initially started building my rapid response emergency housing system in my backyard. The result of many years of design and prototyping is the Exo housing unit, unparalleled in the world of disaster relief solutions. The Exo is a low-cost, durable, transportable and easy-to-assemble solution that can bring safety and security to suffering families.
I never intended for this to be a business, in fact I spent years trying to give the design away to government agencies and NGOs, but these organizations need private companies to develop products like these for them to use. Over the years, I have received so many requests from people around the world clamoring for this product, I decided to build Reaction - a company committed to revolutionizing the way the world responds to disasters.
I've gathered a superhero team of designers and engineers obsessed by creating remarkable experience to solve challenging problems. Previously, our team has:
Been an integral part of Disney magic band design and development team
Designed homeland security structures certified and approved by the Department of Defense and NYPD
Built a wireless mesh platform to connect consumer devices used for elderly assisted living
We’ve raised venture capital investment to set up operations. Now we want to bring our products to the masses. Realizing that we couldn’t possibly understand the needs of a displaced family from the confines of our studio, our team wants to get our Exo prototypes out of our workshop and into the lives of people who really need them. Through rapid prototyping and iteration, we’ll tweak the design so it can best meet the community’s needs.
To do this, Reaction will partner with aid organizations around the world to deliver the Exo Housing System to families in need of shelter. The first pilots will be with select NGO's working with internally displaced persons in Syria and continued earthquake relief in Haiti.
The Maram Foundation was born of a desire to bring assistance to civilians blocked at the Syrian borders with neighboring countries after fleeing the violence that is devastating the country. Maram operates in Syria in a number of capacities:
- managing a refugee camp
- supporting field hospitals
- organizing schools
- providing facilities for aid workers
Aid by design
Your donations will go towards the construction and delivery of Exo prototypes to families in need. These 80 sq-ft units can temporarily house a family of four, offering them shelter and safety until suitable long-term housing can be built.
Unlike the infamous FEMA trailers that cost around $20,000 for a one time use, Exos can cost as little as 1/4 as much and can be set up in two minutes by hand, with no need for tools or heavy machinery.
They’re reusable, durable and safe - thanks to these features:
Energy efficient doors and skylights for ample natural lighting
Digital door locks to keep housing secure and safe for women and children.
Rugged composite skins
Insulated for climate control
Capable of connecting to electricity, heat and air conditioning
Reaction is more than just individual units. In the aftermath of these disasters, mothers and children can be easily separated and whole familiescan be divided. After Hurricane Katrina, many of us remember the images of fathers and mothers roaming the Superdome and Astrodome with cardboard signs looking for their families. With this in mind, because of its size and transportability, we have designed Exos to be deployed in small pods, like a safe neighborhood or a familiar community.
Exos are wired for electricity and connectivity - so the units can be lit at night and parents can charge mobile phones to remain in touch within the family and with the broader community. The Exo units themselves form a wireless mesh network, recognizing the units around them and connecting to a single digital platform. Through one dashboard, aid organizations can monitor entire fleets of Exos to see which units are online, offline or in transit, while also monitoring for temperature or fire.
Join the movement
Women are often excluded from having a say in restoration and reconstruction efforts after disasters. In the process of providing housing for these families, we want them to inform how the product is designed in order to meet their needs in the future.
When we deliver Exo Beta units, our team will work with the aid organizations deploying them and engage with the families using the shelters, so we can better understand their unique needs and design explicitly for them. Through rapid-iteration, we’ll incorporate this feedback for the next generation of products to provide shelter to millions in the years to come.
For every $10,000 we raise we will ship a housing unit to an additional family in need around the world. We have set a humble initial goal of $50,000 to house five families at no cost to the families or aid organizations working with them.
All contributing participants at all levels will receive an exclusive login to our Disaster Response portal, where they will be able to track the delivery of Exo housing units throughout the world as part of this campaign and other partnerships with global aid organizations.
Reaction Exo T-shirt
Reaction Disaster Response Team T-shirts (3 Designs):
3D Printed Exo (3 color options)
An Exo for you or a family in need (standard configuration)