Published: Friday 15 May 1998

A portable pyramid capable of protecting people from being struck by lightning has recently been developed by researcher Mat Darvenzia of the University of Queensland, usa. Built of aluminium tubes, this curious device operates on the simple theory that when lightning strikes, the charge passes harmlessly through to the ground through a conducting material. Larger pyramids are now being constructed to protect larger groups of people. During severe storms, there should be a gap of at least 25 cm between the frame and those taking shelter inside, says Darvenzia. The research for this storm shelter was undertaken on request from Singapore's ministry of defence. Singapore, where thunder storms last for as many as 200 days a year, will use the device to protect its soldiers and equipment during field exercises.

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