Survival ark at cutting edge of tsunami safety

(CBS News) Japan is on the cutting edge when it comes to technological innovation and on the razor's edge when it comes to natural disasters. Sitting atop four tectonic plates it's the most earthquake prone nation on earth.

Complete coverage: Disaster in Japan
SLIDESHOW: Japan tsunami recovery: Then and now

One year since a massive earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people, many people there are preparing for future disasters using new safety devices on the market. Japanese inventors have created a bed that's also a boat and a fold up hardhat that fits in your purse.

Shoji Tanaka invented an ark he calls Noah. Made of layered plastic and fiberglass, he said it's tough enough to withstand 12-tons of crashing beams in an earthquake and light enough to ride the waves of a tsunami.

At $3,500, he says he's sold 1,500 already, with orders backed up three months.

Tanaka says that four people can stay safe and dry in the Noah pod for a few days in the event of a disaster -- four very small people.

Web extra: Inside tsunami-proof "Noah's Ark"

After seeing the destruction of the coastal city of Ishinomaki last year, Kunio Suzuki was one of the first to buy a Noah. He bought it to guarantee the safety of his 87-year-old mother -- who would be the first to get inside. Suzuki isn't sure that it will work but says it's better to be safe than sorry.

Tanaka has a similar sentiment. Though he hopes his Noah pods will not have to be used, he knows that in Japan, there will be always be another disaster.

To watch Bill Whitaker's full report on the Noah pod, watch the video in the player above.

  • Bill Whitaker

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