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Japanese Levitating House System Could Protect Homes From Earthquakes
We’ve seen quite a few creative examples of disaster-resistant architecture here at Inhabitat – from houses that rise up atop flood waters to an elastic iron alloy designed to sway with an earthquake. Now a Japanese company, Air Danshin Systems Inc., has come up with perhaps the most inventive solution we’ve seen — they fit out existing houses to levitate in the event of an earthquake. In the wake of last year’s Fukushima disaster the company is set to install the levitation system in 88 houses across Japan.
As fantastical as a home levitation system may seem, Air Danshin claims that the technology is not only effective, but also 1/3 cheaper than many other earthquake-proofing systems out there – and it requires little maintenance. According to Spoon & Tamago, the technology calls for a fairly simple, if powerful, set of mechanisms to be installed around a property. When an earthquake hits, a sensor responds within one second by activating a compressor, which forces an incredible amount of air under the home, pushing the structure up and apart from its foundation. The air pressure can keep the home levitating up to 3cm from the shaking foundation below. An indoor valve controls the flow of air under the house, keeping the structure steady as it “floats.”
Once the earthquake is over the home gently falls back onto an earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete foundation. While the earthquake-resistant levitation system is presently being installed in houses, we hear the Japanese firm hopes to expand to install the system in larger, potentially more critical structures. To promote the technology, Air Danshin Systems have made some fairly convincing, and somewhat humorous, videos to demonstrate their technology in action.
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