10ft x 10ft x 10ft Cube House

And I thought my college buddy’s room was tiny!

This cozy little cabin — part of the Cube Project — will definitely fall under the “tiny house” label, but it has all the basics.

Considering a lot of college kids already live in rooms just as small (except with no privacy), I think it’s definitely worth persuing as an alternative housing method rather than cramming 8 – 12 people into one communal house.

Note the induction cooker too. I’ve been a fan of induction cookers since the first time I saw them years ago and (precluding anyone with a pacemaker) it’s a much cheaper and effective alternative long term than other electric cooker types and even LPG.

Some of the older induction cookers had some issues, but newer models are energy efficient, extemely space saving, and above all else, safe. You’re only heating the cooking container, if it’s made of ferrous metal — which a lot of cooking utensils already are — so no energy is wasted heating the ambient air.

All the basics of living are included in a very neat little package at 10ft x 10ft x 10ft (or 3m x 3m x 3m for you metric folks).

And here’s how they built it.

Check out the interior/exterior breakdown animation that shows everything in perspective.

Certainly appropriate to mention this quote :

If we’re all destined to live in boxes, why not build better boxes?


Site of the Week: BioLite

Ever think to yourself, “if only I could power my USB device by burning wood”?

BioLite Campstove. Power your devices with fire!

If you need to charge your USB device, but don’t want to rely on nasty nuclear or ugly coal that’s powering your house (if you’re not already on solar), then BioLite has the stove to do it. By burning leaves, twigs or what have you, never run out of power.

At first, I thought this was a joke, but it turns out to be a totally serious product. For $129, you get a stove, according to the product page that is able to :

Charge your gadgets
By converting heat from the fire into usable electricity, our stoves will recharge your phones, lights and other gadgets while you cook dinner. Unlike solar, BioLite CampStove is a true on-demand source.

But the real appeal of this is that it needs :

No fuel to buy or carry
Our stoves cook your meals with nothing but the twigs you collect on your journey, eliminating the need for heavy, expensive, polluting petroleum gas. Quick to light, fast to boil and easy to use.

Of course, there are backpack USB chargers in the market these days, but they don’t work well when it’s cloudy and not at all at night. Presumably, these probably won’t work as well when it’s raining unless you’re in a shelter with plenty of ventilation for the smoke, but you can still charge outside when dry, day or night. I’m not sure how eco-friendly it really is since you’re still burning fuel, but I imagine it’s a lot less than the several tons of CO2 expelled by your local coal power plant.

Check out the product promo :

Icopod : A living dream

If anyone remembers the good ol’ days of TechTV (before it was mauled, regurgitated, re-consumed and finally defecated by G4), there was a wonderful show on called “Invent This“. It showcased the creations and personas of quirky, yet deceptively brilliant, inventors as well as the history that lead them to where they are today.

One of these inventors was Sanford Ponder, a former musician who later went on to create The Icopod or The Pod as it was often referred to. The underlying premise was to create a temporary or semi-permanent shelter for disaster relief, social gatherings or for impoverished settlements from nothing but pre-cut sections of treated cardboard.


Icopod parts awaiting assembly

That’s right… Cardboard. The theory being a lightweight assembly of repeating pieces is the most efficient and elegant way to build shelters that someone would actually want to live in.


All the sections going up

 And is it any wonder why The Pod was a smash hit at the burning man festival.


Looks mighty cozy to me.

On the series, Invent This!, Mr. Ponder goes on to envision an entire village of these pods with much more complex arrangements. The goal being to shed away what he perceives to be distracting end goals which actually detract from the quality of life one could have. I think he may be on to something.

We live in a society where we’re constantly fed our own wants. Wants that eventually become needs if only because they’ve been hammered into our psyche since the day the perception of our own existence was differentiated between “I” and “Not I”. But how much of these wants do we actually need? It’s amazing how much clarity one can achieve when one is forced to live without luxuries.

And why not live without them? How much stuff do we need to fill our lives with? How many “things” do we need to accumulate before realizing that none of it is ever enough and the high is only temporary.

That said, I think there’s a great future for products like The Pod. If they can be made permanent and more durable and safer or if a whole different class of structures can be cheaply made with the same premise, we may finally have the capability to decide what’s really important in our lives. Living in a shelter such as this makes it an absolute necesity to only keep what you need.