They seem like a smart idea, but how many people do you really know with a safe room in their house? Probably none, because they're expensive, and that includes those living in areas where storms can generate deadly tornados. So a Missouri-based inventor has come up with a cheaper way to stay safe during a twister—an oversized sleeping bag made from the same material as bulletproof vests.

Weighing just 12 pounds when rolled up, the Tuuli Armor Tornado Shield can be stored almost anywhere, even in the trunk of your car, and is easy to deploy in less than a minute. It's about as large as a queen-sized bed when unfurled, which means it's large enough to accommodate two adults and a child inside, and the material is able to resist being punctured by shrapnel traveling faster than 200 miles per hour.

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The Tornado Shield won't protect its occupants from broken bones or other injuries from larger materials, but it will protect them from the constant barrage of tiny debris like broken glass and splinters that can be just as dangerous. And, unlike building an underground safe room, the Tuuli Armor will sell for about $400 (or just $320 for early donators) if its Indiegogo campaign is able to raise the $105,000 needed to put it into production.

It isn't an absolute guarantee that you'll be safe during a terrible storm, but it seems like a smart and affordable way to help improve your family's chances of walking away from a disaster with minimal harm. [Indiegogo via Gizmag]