Gizmos & Gadgets: New Exo Emergency Shelter an Answer to World Crises

March 10, 2014 – A 7.4 square meter (80 square foot) shelter named Exo is the creation of Mississippi born Michael McDaniel. He was inspired to develop Exo after witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the shelter challenges that followed. His inspiration was a styrofoam coffee cup. And today his company Reaction is up and running building Exos in Austin, Texas.

So what is the Exo Housing System? It is a portable shelter with a rugged composite skin strong enough to stop a bullet yet light enough to be manhandled by a team of four without power tools or heavy machinery. Each contains aircraft grade aluminum and offers accommodation for a family of four. Additional features include:


  • Energy efficient doors with digital door locks for security.
  • Skylights for natural lighting.
  • Insulation to provide a climate-controlled internal environment that can be heated or air conditioned by using the built-in connectors to link to an external source.


Each durable shelter comes in two parts – a floor plate which comes in three configurations – basic living accommodation, bathroom and kitchen. The upper living accommodation shell consists of a roof and walls with four attached beds which are lowered into secured positions when completing the assembly. A team of four can easily assemble an Exo in two minutes. With adapters Exos can be linked together to create even larger housing units.


Exo interior

Want to get involved in bankrolling Exo during this pilot phase? Just go to their crowdfunding site on Indiegogo where the company is raising $50,000 U.S. with over 40% already pledged.  Want an Exo for yourself? You can order a standard configuration for $7,500 U.S. That’s about one quarter the cost of a single trailer similar to the ones used by FEMA to accommodate Hurricane Katrina families.

The first Exos are being sent to Haiti where post-earthquake accommodation is still needed, and to Syria where the units will be managed by the Maram Foundation dedicated to providing housing, clothing and food to those fleeing the violence there.



Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...