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AbleNook Prototype, ablenook, modular dwelling, disaster relief, humanitarian relief, prefab shelter, emergency shelter

AbleNook was designed by Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross as part of an architecture project while at the University of South Florida. The summer-long independent study project turned into a real-world solution they hoped could make a difference in the wake of natural disasters. The modular design is based on identical and universal aluminum structural insulated panels (SIPs) and extruded aluminum structural members that clip together without the use of any tools. A basic shelter can be assembled in about two hours without the help of skilled labor. The structural members have a patent-pending design that allow for wiring of electrical components. An arched roof covers the module and integrated solar panels generate power for the dwelling. Finally, adjustable leg jacks allow AbleNook to be deployed on wildly uneven terrain.

The design team has recently completed a working prototype, a single module that serves as a proof of concept. They also recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the next phase of their development. With $60,000 the team will build the molds and tooling necessary to fabricate AbleNook 002 and begin building dwellings on larger scale. “We really believe that good design can help save people’s lives and restore human dignity after a natural disaster,” says Jason Ross. While the original plan was for these units to be used for disaster relief, AbleNook could also be expanded for classrooms, offices, and even prefab housing. The duo expect to have units completed and available for sale by the end of 2013.

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