As the one year anniversary of the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 approaches, more technological advances have come through to prepare the country for possible future natural disasters. Of those interesting inventions is the home levitation system, strong enough to lift your home off the shaking grounds to keep the structure as unaffected as possible.
This system as been installed in 88 homes across Japan so far, and requires a powerful set of mechanism that can lift the entire weight of your home. When disaster strikes, the a sensor recognizes the ground’s instability and turns on the compressor within 0.5 to 1 second, releasing enough air to force the home to rise. The greater the distance your home is off the ground, the better chance you and your building’s structure is unaffected by the earthquake.
As your home stays in this levitation mode, an indoor value controls how your home floats so everything inside stays balanced. The home can also be lifted up to 3 centimeters, or approximately 1.2 inches, to decrease the impact of the shaking grounds. When the earthquake is over, the compressor is turned off and the home gently returns to its foundation.
Air Danshin System Inc., the creator of this blueprint, claims this airbag-type system is not only effective but costs 1/3 of other earthquake-proofing systems and needs little maintenance. The company hopes to continue installing this system to larger buildings, such as downtown offices and high-rise apartments, as they are potentially more dangerous and need efficient ways to keep the structures safe.
Even before the 2011 earthquake, Japanese researchers have been developing ways to keep buildings secure from natural disasters. In 2010, an elastic iron alloy was created as an alternative resource to make buildings more adaptable to shifting outdoor conditions. The alloy contains a shape-memory set of wires that architects would theoretically integrate into structures, making buildings flow with the earthquake’s movements but maintaining the wall’s shape by being stretchy enough to not fall apart.
In an event of a tsunami, a floating home system has been invented, using a similar system as the levitating home which lifts the house onto a bed of durable foam. When a flood occurs, the Float House is kept safe for up to 12 feet of water by essentially turning the home into a boat, with enough battery power to sustain electrical uses for up to three days.
While these innovations are cool and it’s good to take extra precautions to prepare ourselves from natural disasters, we hope we’ll never have to use the systems in real life. If you’re curious as to what the Air Danshin levitating system looks like in action, check out the video of the developers testing on two live human below. Let’s pray the man sitting to our right isn’t too dizzy from all that shaking.
Image Credit: Spoon & Tamago