As anyone in the north knows from first-hand experience, winter weather makes it hard to stay outside for long. For those without a roof over their heads, this is not just about convenience but concerns basic survival. This is where Veronika Scott – a Michigan-based product design student – comes in.

The self-heated, waterproof and multi-functional Elements Survival Coat is designed around over 18,000 homeless people living in Detroit. It converts readily into a sleeping bag at night, while providing portable warmth during the day.

Tyvec is used for the outer shell, while a synthetic+wool blend provides skin-friendly padding for the inside liner. Total material cost for a single coat is under ten dollars – the labor time is what matters more.

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Donations are being accepted to help buy velcro, plastic tubing, scissors and hot glue that go into the construction process. Of course, clothing alone is not the solution – this coat comes with a minimum-wage job, food to eat and other assistance for getting back on one’s feat. It might not be a long-term solution, but any home is better than none … and the materials+assembly price is difficult to beat.