After a disaster, plastic sheeting or tarpaulins are often handed out, and then used in the construction of makeshift shelters. Frequently the results are inadequate - too weak, too hot, or not sturdy enough to stand up to storms or the elements. Shaun & Carol Halbert saw these shanty tents firsthand after the earthquake in Haiti while helping with recovery efforts, and they were compelled to create a better emergency shelter with simple materials. As a result they designed Reciproboo - a kit of simple parts used to build a strong reciprocal frame from bamboo or steel poles. The Reciproboo Shelter Kit can be applied to a variety of situations and provides a lower cost and simpler alternative to more modernized tents.
A reciprocal frame is a self-supporting system of beams or poles that require not center pole or support beam. In a reciprocal system, each pole relies on the pole beneath it for support and can be built with a minimum of three poles. The Reciproboo Shelter system uses a 4-pole setup that creates a square frame, which can be used as a side wall or even a roof. The four poles are laid together to create a square in the center with one pole overlapping the next. The twine is used to lash the poles together and then the frame is elevated and held aloft by two poles and anchored to the ground with rope. A tarp or plastic sheeting is then laid over the frame for shade and protection.
The basic Reciproboo Shelter Kit includes 7 poles, a tarpaulin, twine and rope and frames can also be used in a modular fashion to build larger and stronger shelters, providing around 200 sq ft of space for about $25. The Halberts have been working since 2010 to fine tune their design and share the concept with aid agencies. They recently completed a workshop in Nepal using green bamboo poles to share the concept with others and gain insight into how it can be improved. The Reciproboo team is now looking for partners to help conduct a full pilot program to develop kits that can be used in a real disaster situation.
Via Fast Co.Exist