Several cities are vulnerable to earthquakes and have witnessed severe damages caused to the building structures. However, with technological advancements, buildings can now be strengthened to keep them from thrashing back and forth and flexible enough to lean. Nowadays, building construction processes are based on the earthquake-safe building codes which include installation of devices that automatically lock up the gas at the initial tremor. Buildings are getting designed to support vertical load that can in turn support the roof, walls and other materials inside to keep them stand firmly.
The airlift technology to levitate houses during earthquakes
The technology was invented by Shoichi Sakamoto with an aim to protect thousands of homes from natural disasters like earthquake. This airlift technology automatically levitates and isolates a whole building until the tremor stops. The system not only enables a house to get relieved from the shudders of the earthquake but also prevents the possibility of building structures getting crumbled to the ground.
How does the technology function?
The inventor conceptualized that a building under stable conditions will sit on a deflated air bag. This air bag has built-in sensors and will be able to sense tremors on the earth within a fraction of a second. Once a tremor is sensed, the sensors get activated and switch on the compressor which fills air inside the airbag and inflates it. This helps in lifting the entire house up to three meters above the concrete foundation. The process actually creates a semi-levitating state while an earthquake occurs. However, the inflation is subtle and does not affect the inhabitants. As soon as the earthquake stops, the airbag slowly deflates thereby causing the house to gently come back onto the foundation it was initially attached to. Emergency batteries are also installed to ensure that the whole system stays functional even during the event of power cut.
Although the whole purpose is to prevent massive destruction from natural catastrophes, there are a few limitations associated with the technology. The airlift system is made only to protect buildings from smaller earthquakes which cause shaking from side to side. However, there is still no provision invented to prevent up and down motion which takes place during larger and more destructive earthquakes.
Construction techniques of building can have a huge impact on the lives of the inhabitants during an earthquake. It is not disasters that kill people but the construction methods of structures which are not based on proper disaster-proof system that ultimately leads to massive destruction.