A Japanese company has developed technology that lifts homes off their concrete foundations in the event of an earthquake. As Spoon & Tamago reports, translating Japanese news coverage of the project, Air Danshin Systems, Inc. was established in 2005 to test and sell the patented systems, which they market as a low-cost effective form of earthquake-proofing that requires relatively little maintenance.
The process is surprisingly simple. A sensor embedded in the walls of the structure detects the first rumblings of a quake, immediately activating an air tank which funnels air downwards through the floor to create a plenum sandwiched between the bottom of the house and the top of the foundation. The temporary air layer can expand to lift the house up to 3 cm above the concrete bed; the home remains suspended above the shaking ground until the tectonic plates have resettled, at which point it gently lowers back to terra firma. The company says that the system can be scaled up to accommodate larger structures such as factories or, one wonders, nuclear power plants, houses of state, and heritage sites.