In­no­va­tion Bul­let-re­sis­tant Couch

① ② Next Steps Her­a­cles, which has 10 full-time em­ploy­ees, also sells gun safes for bed­rooms and trucks. An­drea James, an an­a­lyst at in­vest­ment bank Dougherty & Co., says this is as good a mo­ment as any for the Couchbunker, as the mar­ket for guns and ac

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(15.8Mbps). Rama “is bring­ing uni­ver­sal con­nec­tiv­ity to the whole coun­try,” says Muhunthan Can­agey, the head of Sri Lanka’s In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy Agency.

The Rama pro­ject be­gan a lit­tle more than a year ago, when the pres­i­dent met with Pal­i­hapi­tiya. “I said to them that if they cre­ated a man­date for In­ter­net ac­cess and mak­ing it a right, they would be the first coun­try to do it,” re­calls the 39-year-old ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, who em­i­grated with his fam­ily from Sri Lanka to Canada in 1983, at the height of the civil war. “I had very close re­la­tion­ships with the team at Google, and so we were able to get that team in­ter­ested in pro­vid­ing Loon tech­nol­ogy to the coun­try.”

If the Wi-fi-beam­ing model works, Rama could also part­ner with Face­book’s Wi-fi drone pro­gram or with satel­lite providers, Pal­i­hapi­tiya says. “If we can solve this in Sri Lanka, then we can solve it in the Philip­pines, Viet­nam.”

Fol­low­ing the first Loon launch, lo­cal news out­lets flashed pho­tos of what looked like the wreck­age of a bal­loon near the cap­i­tal, Colombo. A spokes­woman for Google par­ent com­pany Al­pha­bet said that was a planned land­ing fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful test. Google has dis­closed few de­tails about Loon, ex­cept to say it’s work­ing with car­ri­ers around the world. (It’s also test­ing the bal­loons in In­done­sia and work­ing to bring them to In­dia.)

No mat­ter how many bal­loons are in the air, Sri Lanka will still likely need fiber-op­tic con­nec­tions to han­dle grow­ing In­ter­net de­mand, says Rohan Sa­ma­ra­jiva, chair of tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture think tank Lirne Asia and a for­mer di­rec­tor of Sri Lanka’s tele­com reg­u­la­tor. Loon is “a rather un­usual so­lu­tion and has got po­ten­tial,” he says, but it’s “an un­proven tech­nol­ogy we should look at with rea­son­able and re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Can­agey, the govern­ment of­fi­cial, is less equiv­o­cal. “This is the way the world is go­ing,” he says. “We have to evolve in the way the tech­nol­ogy is evolv­ing.” �Adi Narayan and Anusha On­daatjie

The bot­tom line Rama’s part­ner­ship with Google could give Sri Lanka an­other way to boost its ever more pre­cious In­ter­net band­width.

Edited by Jeff Muskus Bloomberg.com

Form and func­tion

The Couchbunker, a piece of fur­ni­ture that dou­bles as a gun safe, is lined with cush­ions de­signed to keep bul­lets from pass­ing through in the event of a shoot­ing.

1.

The com­pany says its bul­let-re­sis­tant cush­ions, which come in a va­ri­ety of leathers and fab­rics, will stop a .44 Mag­num round at close range. Each cush­ion comes with straps so they can be used as a per­sonal shield. Adrain says one Chicagoan bought nine Couch­bunkers. In­no­va­tor John Adrain Age Ti­tle Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of nine-year-old Her­a­cles Re­search in Frisco, Texas

Made of quar­ter-inchthick steel, the gun safe opens up out of the seat be­neath the cush­ions. It in­creases the to­tal weight of the made-to-or­der couch to at least 650 pounds.

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