Japanese Home-Levitation System Could Protect Buildings From Earthquakes

Earthquake Levitation System via Spoon & Tamago

Instead of building super-strong yet flexible structures to withstand earthquakes, what if you built your house to levitate on a cushion of air? This is already being employed in Japan, a little less than a year after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country.

The levitation system is the brainchild of a company called Air Danshin Systems Inc., which the Japanese-culture-and-art site Spoon & Tamago says roughly translates to “anti-seismic.” It was founded in 2005 but has caught on after the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake.

It consists of a sensor network, an air compressor and an artificial second foundation beneath the home’s bottom level and just above the ground. An earthquake-sensitive motion sensor recognizes when the earth is unstable, and an air compressor activates within half a second to fill the space between the building and the ground. It can lift a structure 1.2 inches off the ground, according to a report in DigitalTrends.

While the earth moves, the levitating home would stay still, protected by the air cushion. Apparently 88 homes in Japan already had this home-airbag system as of last summer.

There’s even a video demonstration below — seems like it works pretty well. (Why didn’t they let the old guy sit in the comfortable chair?)

The whole thing seems like a good idea, if slightly impractical — it would not be easy to lift a home off the ground and install this second artificial foundation. But then again, it would be better to install this rather than let the earth move your house for you.

Source: Popsci