High-tech "glamping" has never been more sustainable.
A Slovakian-based architectural studio, Nice Architects, designed a little wind and solar-powered pod that can be taken almost anywhere around the globe. The sleek, egg-shaped capsule looks something like a futuristic spaceship, and it runs on sun, wind, and rain alone. “Glamping,” or glamorous camping, has been taken to the next level— and it’s never been more sustainable.
As stated on the website, the compact living space, “merges an energy efficient shape, compact volume and off-grid capabilities with the luxuries of a warm bed, running water and a hot meal.” Basically, you can turn the smart-hub into whatever you need it to be at the time: a research station, a disaster-relief shelter, or a personal mobile hotel. The cozy interior provides a kitchenette, work and dining area, folding bed, and toilet and shower. There’s even electrical outlets and climate control features.
While the exquisite design in itself is alluring, the environmentally-conscious functions of the Ecocapsule drive its appeal. The model powers itself through solar cells that cover the roof as well as a 750-watt retractable wind turbine. As long as the outside temperatures range between -13° and 104°F (-25° and 40°C), the pod can consistently generate power along with the help of the efficient climate-control system.
The curved, egg-like shape serves an important purpose too — it maximizes energy efficiency and helps collect rainwater, which is cleaned through built-in ceramic filters that make it safe for human consumption. Beneath the floorboards lies an impressive 145-gallon reservoir for the rainwater that (when full) can supply two people with water for three weeks. Electric pumps transport the water through a membrane filter that purifies the liquid of any dirt and bacteria before it reaches the sink and shower.
The interior of the ecocapsule. Photo credit: Ecocapsule / nicearchitects.sk
Since the Ecocapsule relies on generating its energy from natural resources, the designers ensured the structure includes back-up methods of producing energy. The capsule contains a 9,744-watt-hour battery that holds five days of power if energy production from the solar cells and wind turbine slows. There are also manual foot pumps to maintain the water supply when energy is low.
However, if temperatures and outside weather conditions are getting a little iffy, the capsule will know. Its smart interface includes a central computer that monitors energy and water levels to estimate how long the supplies will last. The computer, controlled with a smartphone or tablet, is linked to sensors that record temperature, humidity, and rainfall outside the pod. If the computer senses there’s little sun or wind, it will advise you to adjust the internal temp of the home or take shorter showers to elongate the water and energy supply.
The futuristic device actually isn't so futuristic after all — pre-orders for the Ecocapsule will start in the last quarter of 2015, and the first-produced units are expected to be shipped in the first half of 2016. The price hasn’t been announced yet, but when it reaches the markets next year, the highly anticipated pod is certain to be in high demand.
Nice Architects partner Igor Zacek told CNN, “We were not prepared for the reaction. We started small but now we have to revise our model.”
The innovative mobile home provides a unique way to travel the world, allowing explorers to post up in the most remote locations without having to worry about the unpredictable ways of mother nature. The pod fuses function and style with its cutting edge aesthetics, and it could be for anyone— from scientific researchers to wanderlusters. Zacek explains, "We thought of people that have a relationship with nature, but based on the response it could be for almost everybody, it has caught the imagination and reminded people of childhood dreams.”
The Ecocapsule is being exhibited today (November 5) at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin. Check out the photo gallery for more images of the Ecocapsule.