Kevin R. Stone is an orthopedic surgeon and an unlikely inventor.

When Kevin had seen footage of people jumping out of the windows of the World Trade Center on 9/11, he was inspired. He went to work on a device that would allow people to escape from a tall building, through the window, in the event of a serious emergency. His device became the Rescue Reel, reports The New York Times.

The device, called Rescue Reel, will retail for around $2,000. To escape, people strap themselves into the harness, lock the reel to a stationary point like a door frame and gently propel themselves backward down the outside of a building.

Using the fishing reel as a base concept, Dr. Stone hired Think2Build, a San Francisco design company, to help him create the device. Dr. Stone said the biggest engineering challenge was finding a way that people of differing weights could fall at a speed that would not injure them when they hit the ground — no faster than two seconds per story (which means it would have taken about four minutes to flee the upper floors of the twin towers). Ultimately, the designers incorporated a centripetal braking system, which produces more friction at higher weights.

The device, which uses Kevlar ropes, will be available in 30-, 60- and 100-story lengths. For taller buildings, such as those in Dubai, Dr. Stone said custom lengths could be created.

Dr. Stone said he had invested more than a million dollars in creating the harness. “I want to make that contribution by that anniversary,” Dr. Stone said.

Video after the jump

Photo by Rescue Reel

Comments are closed.