As children returned to school this week in Israel and as the U.S. and Western nations weigh a military strike on Syrian government forces, an Israeli designer is offering one accessory for those who fear being far from shelter if and when a missile strikes.
Israeli designer Hila Raam created “Rhinoskin” -- a backpack constructed at its core of 19-layer Kevlar fabric -- that protects vital organs including the heart, liver, kidneys and brain from debris emanating from a nearby explosion.
With Israelis jittery amid threats from the Syria government that it will set Tel Aviv “on fire” if the U.S. strikes its forces, this might be a product to provide worried parents a modest sense of security.
How does it work? In the event of an air raid siren, pull the side straps on the bag along with yellow strings on the hood, then lie flat on the floor.
Designer Raam, 27, believes her product can constitute a personal shelter for those who can’t reach one quickly enough when the air raid sirens blare.
Raam says she’s targeting the Israeli market, where citizens have had ample experience with incoming rockets and missiles from Hamas and other terrorist groups in the south and Hezbollah from over the northern border.
For those who live close to a border, reaching shelter in time can be a matter of seconds.
The bag weighs a little over five pounds and costs $465.
“This bag pack is no ordinary bag - it can save lives. It is easy to use in real situation[s],” Raam told the Daily Mail. “It was designed as a bag for children and teenagers but can be used by adults as well with different design changes which are being processed.
Raam added, “I wanted to protect people while they were in open spaces and couldn't find shelter in a limited time frame."
Aiming for both form and functionality, Raam said she felt it was important the product look like an ordinary bag – not protective gear - that could be incorporated in a citizen’s daily life.
The Daily Mail calls it “the ultimate back-to-school present for the pessimistic parent” but pointed out that the backpack – which can also be worn as a vest – does nothing to protect arms and legs.
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, companies that manufacture armored backpacks which are meant to shield children in the event of a shooting reported a large spike in sales, as TheBlaze reported last December.
And in January, TheBlaze posted a story featuring another innovative protection device – the bulletproof whiteboard that could be easily removed from the wall behind which students and teacher could shield themselves from bullets.
Though her goal is to reach Israeli consumers, Raam says her product could also be useful for journalists covering danger zones.
Here's a video about Raam's design:
(H/T: Israel Hayom)