Thinking Tech

Levitating buildings rise above deadly earthquakes

Levitating buildings rise above deadly earthquakes

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The Air Danshin System enables structures to float on a cushion of air the moment it detects ground vibrations.

The problem with having to build buildings on solid ground is that it makes them susceptible to damage from earthquakes. But how else are you going to do it? It's not like you can have them stand in mid-air.

Well, leave it to the clever architects and designers in Japan to devise a middle way wherein a levitation system enables structures to float on a cushion of air the moment it detects ground vibrations. Dubbed the Air Danshin System, the setup utilizes a network of motion sensors connected to an air compressor tank that pumps air into a contained space between the foundation and the actual home. This instantly creates a pocket of air dense enough to lift the structure 1.2 inches off the ground. All the while an indoor value keeps everything steady and balanced so the building can safely stay above the shaky ground beneath.

One advantage of using levitation technology is that installation is a third the cost of other earthquake-proof systems. So far, 88 homes across Japan have been retrofitted with the Air Danshin system, which roughly translates to anti-seismic. The company has plans to expand the technology to suit larger buildings like high-rise office building and condos.

While they obviously couldn't generate an earthquake to demonstrate the system's effectiveness, they did the next best thing by producing a video using people seated in chairs. As you can see, the woman on the levitating platform isn't exactly still as a statue, but isn't nearly as... err... rattled as the gentleman next to her.

(via Spoon and Tamago)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure