For his senior project, Brutter decided to take the impact of earthquakes into consideration, according to NPR. His fascination led him to create a desk that could easily be mistaken for an average classroom desk for students. However, Brutter’s creation is anything but ordinary: It has the ability to survive 2,200 pounds of weight.
In the event of an earthquake, everything comes tumbling down, including the ceilings of buildings such as schools. This puts people, like students, in grave danger when an earthquake unexpectedly strikes. With one of Brutter’s desks on hand, a student may be able to seek shelter from falling debris. In turn, this seemingly average desk could save a potentially save a life.
Ido Bruno, a professor of industrial design at the school, worked with Brutter well after graduation to continue progress on the concept. The desk itself is made of wood and steel tubes, and Bruno says that its strength is in the framework, which helps absorb the impact of falling debris.
At the moment, Bruno and Brutter are working with a nonprofit organization to bring the desks to Bhutan, a country situated in an earthquake-prone area of the Himalayas. Each 57-pound desk is priced at $70, which has made it affordable in many school districts.
However, critics claim that a disaster-proof desk is not the answer to earthquake safety. Instead, many people are advocating for buildings retrofitted for earthquakes.
In any case, Bruno and Brutter stand by their creation, which has been tested by the University of Padua in Italy. Tests conducted in 2012 prove the desk’s ability to hold up under enormous weight, and those involved in the project think it’s a good solution during the long, expensive process of retrofitting buildings.