Austin company designing portable housing for disaster victims

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A group of mayors from across the country visiting SXSW got a look at a new concept being built in Austin that could help victims recover after major disasters.

The Austin-based company, Reaction, builds 80-square foot pods called “Exos”. The pods come in two parts, top and bottom, which combined weigh less than 700 pounds making them easy to move.

The founder of Reaction, Michael McDaniel, says the pods can be used for housing after disasters, and even during the current refugee crisis in Europe.

“Not only do we give people a sense of privacy and dignity with these units, it’s also secure. And that was one of the big challenges for us was to actually make an 80 square foot structure that is rigid but is also very secure for your personal belongings and your family,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel says the idea of the pods came after he couldn’t get in touch with family after Katrina, and growing up hearing stories of hurricane damage along the gulf coast.

“I started out like most start ups do, literally designing the first Exos prototype in my backyard and developing some of the tools and technology in my garage. It got to be such a joke with my wife that she actually bough me a lab coat,” said McDaiel “I got to make a lot of my neighbors in North Austin very upset running power tools after 10 p.m. at night.”

The Exos are designed to be customizable in order to meet the needs faced in different disasters.

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