Zorb based Probe deployment system


Use a Zorb to deploy probes safely into a tornado. The shape of the Zorb will help keep the probe(s) low to the ground, and the double layer technology will insulate the hardware from debris and shock

Ray Bohac, Kevin Barton, and Bill Beach with Zorb after several tests with probe prototypes

Project lead

Bill Beach

Project Status

Field tested 


The Zorb concept was born in true a "hacking the problem fashion". First the biggest problem has been to recover probes deployed into a tornado. Getting probe devices into a tornado proved easier than finding them after tornado has taken them.  So how to keep a GPS device, camera, and weather sensor probe together and have it survive a tornado. The Zorb corporation in New Zealand produced miniature Zorb balls exclusively to help with this science endeavor.

The Zorb concept is a simple idea. A heavy duty inflated plastic ball with an inner ball that even if deflated still will keep the components together. A strong zip mesh entry and small hole on the opposite end allow for air to flow freely to measure pressure and moisture levels. There are 6-8 pockets that hold various components into place.  The Zorb made its field debut in the Coleridge tornado on June 18th 2014.