The Earthquake Safe Table is light enough for two children to lift and move. The Earthquake Safe Table is light enough for two children to lift and move. The Earthquake Safe Table is light enough for two children to lift and move. (Photo: Facebook)

Taiwan students get unique gift to help with earthquakes

117 school desks that can withstand a ton of impact were just donated to the country.

At any given time, more than 300 million students around the world – from the United States to Japan – face the threat of an earthquake. Of special concern are areas along geological rift lines and children in developing countries, where construction quality can often be poor.

While it's common to instruct students to crawl under tables in case of an earthquake, a regular school desk may not provide maximum protection under certain weights and impact scenarios. Enter the Earthquake Safe Table. It provides a comprehensive solution by creating both covering protection and passageways for rescue team accessibility.

Students try out the table during a school drill.Students try out the table during a school drill. (Photo: Facebook)

Israel just donated 117 of these desks, which were developed in the Mediterranean country, to Taiwan. The gift was made in memory of the 117 people who perished during a February earthquake in the Asian country. The tables will be used by three schools in the coastal city of Tainan.

The Earthquake Safe Table was created by Arthur Brutter, a student at Israel's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, for his final school project. He teamed up with his professor, Ido Bruno, and together they licensed their design to a school furniture manufacturer in Israel.

Famed Israeli designer Ron Arad mentored the duo on the project. "It's not about doing a show-stopper, visually. It's about being a disaster-stopper," Arad said.

At only 57 pounds, the table is light enough for two children to lift and move, as well as adaptable to classroom cleaning and other routine, non-emergency needs. The table was among various Israeli designs on display at Taiwan Designers' Week in Taipei last week.

Israel has a history of helping out other countries in the wake of natural disasters. After the devastating earthquakes in both Haiti and Nepal, the humanitarian non-profit IsraAid dispatched a team of people to help with the relief efforts and assist in getting much-needed medical supplies to those in need. Their rescue efforts are not just limited to the days following a tragic event, but often last for months afterwards as they help rebuild communities.

As for the Earthquake Safe Table, it has racked up accolades since its invention in 2012. The innovative desk has been nominated for the Design of the Year award by the Design Museum in London. It was also acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art for its permanent architecture and design collection.

"Both of us believe that our talent should be directed towards life-saving devices," Bruno said of his former student. "It's the best thing a designer can contribute."

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