For some, shopping has always provided a certain rush. But now shoppers
and their hold-my-purse-honey companions have a new way to get the
Tampa's University Mall
and Big Top Flea Market
have hosted hurricane simulators recently, and if you look at the website, people seem to be enjoying the experience.
is nice to be involved with a product whose success is measured in
'smiles per hour,' " says Chris Barrs of o8o Leasing. "As a product
designer, I have enjoyed being involved with the evolution of the
product itself as well as the business model that has made this
According to Barrs, there are 14
vending-machine styled simulators in the Tampa Bay region. Barrs says
the idea for "portable" simulators grew from museum exhibits such as the
one in the Disasterville at the Museum of Science and Industry
"They started out as science museum exhibits and then morphed into
vending machines over several years of development," says Barrs. "Once
we decided to manufacture, own and operate the machines instead of
selling them to institutions, our business took off."
says it was relatively easy to adapt the original simulator to
vending-machine size. "It is not rocket science. Basically there is a
big, specialized fan that we have developed and some proprietary
electronics that allows the credit card reader and bill validator to
speak to each other. We do some interesting things to the power supply
in order to make this machine perform on a standard outlet that you find
in a mall."
Hurricane simulators aren't the
only product o8o Leasing
is working. The website also boasts furniture,
art and other products. "We are focused on the hurricanes simulators for
now, but we have a lot of manufacturing capability in-house which is
handy for prototyping the next big idea."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Chris Barrs, o8o Leasing