Life Cube Inc., a Santa Barbara company that specializes in portable and inflatable shelters, recently completed its third contract with the U.S. military to develop insulated, refrigerated shelters that can be airdropped into remote military bases.
This contract was completed through the creation of the “Cool Cube,” a new shelter model that includes an inflatable tent, insulated wall panels and flooring.
When deployed, the product comes in five-foot storage containers that can unfold into rugged floors and structured walls, turning the shelter into a fully functional, military grade refrigerated facility for food and medical supplies.
The creation of this product came as a result of interest from the Department of Defense, who was in search of a portable, insulated shelter that could store food and supplies on the front lines. While the product is still in the research and developing testing phase, company executives say the Cool Cube will help to fulfill the military’s goal with an easily transportable product that can be securely airdropped.
“The completion of our Cool Cube for use by troops stationed overseas has greatly heightened awareness of the versatility of Life Cubes throughout all branches of the military,” Michael Conner, the inventor of the Life Cube, told the News-Press in a statement. “This new model proves our shelter system’s unique capabilities for a variety of applications. We believe it will establish us as one of the preeminent suppliers of soft- and rigid-wall shelters.”
Executives also say the product allows the military to remain mobile by providing an easy way to transport refrigerated materials on the field. The product also removes the need for traditional infrastructure to be built, giving the military the option to easily take the product on the go.
“The military is on the move — it’s not the old way where they want to build infrastructure (or) have to build fixtures on to the areas where they’re going to be operating,” Brian Esposito, the company’s chief strategic advisor, told the News-Press. “They want (a product) that could be deployed quickly and taken down quickly or just deployed quickly and stay there. So because of that interest and the future of what the military looks like, especially on the ground, companies like Life Cube have a great opportunity to make those structures go up as quickly as possible.”
The new Cool Cube model is just one of Life Cube’s multiple structures under development, with each prototype building upon the original cube model. The original Cool Cube model, which was designed and patented within the last decade, has the ability to be inflated in five minutes and is buoyant.
According to a company spokesperson, Mr. Conner was inspired to create the first Life Cube model more than a decade ago when he saw reports of villagers stuck on a mountaintop after an earthquake. During a news report, a reporter said the villagers would likely freeze overnight due to inadequate shelter options.
Upon hearing the report, the spokesperson said Mr. Conner thought it was “ridiculous that we can get to the moon, but we can’t get supplies and shelter to villagers on a mountaintop.”
Watching the tragedy unfold ultimately led the innovator on an impassioned mission to create a portable, inflatable shelter that could be deployed across the world to save lives. This mission has culminated in the creation of multiple Life Cube models, several innovation awards and an appearance at the United Global Conference on Disaster Relief Mitigation in 2012.
The founder did not stop with just one Life Cube model, however.
In addition to the original Life Cube and the Cool Cube design, Mr. Conner recently developed a new kind of transportable structure with rigid walls known as the “Hard Cube.”
The Hard Cube features rigid walls that are completely collapsible and are made for “off the grid” portable use.
The shelters feature an integrated solar power system that can deliver up to 2,500 watts of power and can sleep up to 12 individuals, according to company executives.
When deployed, the structures are 154 square feet and include a small porch. The structure also has a rainwater collection system in its gutters, a shower system and doors that lock. Recent lab testing also showed that the structure could withstand winds of up to 73 miles per hour.
Looking ahead, officials say these rigid wall shelters could be used locally and around the world as temporary shelters for homeless individuals or emergency shelters in times of disaster. According to a company spokesperson, the company is currently having conversations with local providers about supplying rigid wall shelters for use among the unsheltered population.
With each model having the versatility and durability to endure storms and provide shelter in emergency situations, the company spokesperson said all Life Cube models help to fulfill the company’s goal — saving lives by providing quick and portable housing options.
“Providing housing in austere conditions quickly and easily — whether its residents after a flood, or firefighters in need of a base camp that they can quickly put up, or in the Cool Cube case, the refrigeration on the front line — doing things quickly is extremely important,” a company spokesperson said. “That means it needs to be lightweight, and there’s a constant effort to find lightweight materials that are strong enough to withstand the disaster, or military type of use. And so having a mobility package — meaning you can roll it around to get it into place and you can set up the inflatable in five minutes — (is) really achieving the goal of getting it where it needs to go and be recognized quickly.”
For more information on Life Cube, visit lifecubeinc.com. To contact the company, call (805) 708-6141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.