Unlike bomb shelters of the 1950s and 1960s, this Australian's invention may prove useful. A houseboat builder from Melbourne created a cylindrical pod that he said can save four occupants from a tsunami, Wired reported.

The tsunami survival pod (TSP) uses the same principles found in the hull of a boat to protect the people inside from crashing waves. Occupants sit in what look like bucket seats from a race car, strap in with racing harnesses and put on helmets. The pod contains enough air capacity for two and a half hours and the pod has a beacon so rescue workers can spot the pod more easily once the water level lowers.

Ideally, people threatened by a tsunami should attempt to reach higher ground, but as in the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, there's not always enough time for people to escape. Matthew Duncan, creator of the TSP, built the pod with such a scenario in mind.

The exterior of the pod has rounded bumpers and the inside has ring frames, both designed to protect the occupants during an impact.

Duncan reportedly is now working on a smaller, single-occupant version of the pod that can be stored underneath a bed or in a closet. The TSP is not yet in mass production, but Duncan said that two companies have approached him for worldwide distribution and he said he hoped to begin selling his invention soon.

Here's a list of some more of the TSP's safety features:

  • an inward-opening hatch to prevent obstruction while exiting the pod;
  • a secondary hatch in the event the pod is pinned upside-down;
  • one-inch thick viewing windows for claustrophobic occupants;
  • a six-ton crush capacity;
  • infant- and child-friendly seat restraints;
  • helicopter lifting hooks; and
  • streamlined design to prevent the pod from snagging on debris or being pinned under water.

For pictures of the TSP, check out HavanaHouseboats.com.

There are other people trying to bring survival pods to the market. One competitor is DeepEarthBunker. Start the video below at 2:50 to see the company's patent-pending prototype.