By Elizabeth Roberts

Contributor Paul Denham

Above: Danyon Boyd receives his Bendigo Inventors Award and $10,000

Photo courtesy of

Natural disasters occur all year round on a regular basis leaving many people homeless and vulnerable. When such an event occurs, hospitals in the affected region become chaotic and those left homeless require basic human needs, such as water and shelter, to survive.

Danyon Boyd, at the time a third year Industrial Design student at UNSW Built Environment, designed an emergency response product called Habatat CSK, that reduces chaos, aids coordination and rapidly responds to the needs of victims affected by natural disasters. Boyd’s design is the result of a five week project in the third year Industrial Design Studio which that's named the “Resilience Challenge.” Dr Mariano Ramirez, Senior Lecturer in the Industrial Design course, challenged his students to solve problems related to risk reduction, preparedness, response and rehabilitation.

Boyd’s design was also entered into the Bendigo Inventor Awards (BIA) and won the BIA Emergency Services Prize of $10,000 for “best aiding the challenges faced by the Emergency Services sector in Bendigo”. According to Dr Ramirez, the award is even more satisfying as Boyd and the other students were competing against professional inventors and innovators. “It is important to note that the Bendigo Inventor Awards is not a student design competition and yet our students' works were well recognized amongst the entries. It [Boyd’s] was a fantastic win and reaffirms the rightful place of real-world projects such as the Resilience Challenge have within industrial design education,” explains Ramirez.

The Habatat CSK, (named Ha-bat-at due to its resemblance of a bat hanging in a tree when closed, a bat with wings spread when open and its function as a habitat)  is a community starter kit that can be set up to provide shelter and water to disaster refugee camps and makeshift hospitals. Each unit can accommodate and hydrate 16 occupants. In addition to providing 4 x 4 man shelters, the Habatat CSK can be configured in many ways to create central community spaces where clean rain water can be collected. This central space provides and encourages victims to come together and engage with their community to recover physically and emotionally.


Above: Boyd’s entry into the Bendigo Inventor Awards

Photo courtesy of

The Habatat CSK components are packaged in a drum for easy transportation or storage when not in use. The whole package is lightweight, compact and ready to use in a matter of minutes.

The shelters themselves are unlike anything else in the market. The structures are lightweight, versatile, modular and rigid and can be adapted to suit various geographic regions across the globe. They can be set up faster than anything else on the market, allowing more shelters to be erected in the same time frame. The materials and components of the Habatat CSK are cost effective and recyclable, creating a more sustainable product than is currently on the market.  All the components are made from ‘off the shelf parts’ which reduces costs and tools for the product manufacturer. The fabric is high performing, ecofriendly, and water proof and has excellent UV resistance and similar strength attributes to that of a spider web.


Above: Boyd displays his Habatat CSK invention at the Bendigo Inventors Awards

Photo courtesy of

When asked about his inspiration for the Habatat CSK, Boyd said, “I saw TV footage of the devastation and chaos caused by a recent tsunami in India and how water was now a scarcity to the affected community. It was in that moment I realised that there would be no better product to design”.

Despite the short time frame Boyd had to design Habatat CSK, he crafted small scale prototypes to test his ideas and finalised his design with a fully functional working model. 

Dr Mariano Ramirez, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design congratulated Danyon on his success saying, “Danyon’s design stood out as being exceptionally well-resolved despite the short time frame he had to complete this project. Competing against other students as well as professional inventors and innovators has made the win all the more impressive”.

Click here to read about our Industrial Design degree and get ready for a rewarding career just like Danyon's.