Air Danshin creates airlift system to levitate houses during earthquakes


March 8, 2012

Air Danshin's seismic isolation system airlifts homes to protect them during earthquakes

Air Danshin's seismic isolation system airlifts homes to protect them during earthquakes

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When you live in a country as seismically active as Japan, thinking about earthquakes (and tsumanis) probably occupies a good deal of your time. Inventor Shoichi Sakamoto took it a step further. He decided to do something about it and invented a technology, remarkably simple in concept, to protect homes from the devastating shaking - an airlift system capable of automatically raising and isolating the whole house until the temblor stops.

Already deployed in nearly 90 sites across Japan, the system functions in a straightforward manner: the house is separated from its foundation by an expandable, sliding air chamber. The instant a quake is detected (within .5 - 1 second), air from a storage tank fills the chamber and lifts the entire structure up to 1.18 inch (3 cm) and keeps it there until a sensor detects the shaking has stopped. Emergency batteries are provided to ensure the system stays functional in the likely event of power-loss.

Air Danshin claims that its system (see one of Sakamoto's patent applications here) is about a third the cost of other seismic isolation systems. Apparently it's also designed larger versions suitable for facilities such as factories and laboratories. Unfortunately, there was no mention of plans to protect nuclear power plants, but there's always hope.

Check out the videos below to see demonstrations of Air Danshin's system in action.

Source: Air Danshin via Spoon and Tamago

About the Author
Randolph Jonsson A native San Franciscan, Randolph attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland before finding his way to the film business. Eventually, he landed a job at George Lucas' Industrial Light + Magic, where he worked on many top-grossing films in both the camera and computer graphics departments. A proud member of MENSA, he's passionate about technology, optimal health, photography, marine biology, writing, world travel and the occasional, well-crafted gin and tonic! All articles by Randolph Jonsson

It is certainly interesting but I think it needs to have a air bag at each corner with weight sensors under each so when the time comes it will compensate for if you have say two king sized waterbeds along the south wall or other serious unbalanced loading.


An interesting idea, but I would like to see how the isolated mass behaves when subjected to more complex motion that is characteristic of a real earthquake: Not only side-to-side but up and down and rolling, wave-like motion.

The isolated building would still need to be connected to the foundation so that it doesn't slip off. Also, the utility connections would need to be flexible.

Les LaZar

air bags?, So.. reminds me of Brunel's Dawlish atmospheric railway. ....... "Rats" .......

John Potter

this only demonstrates that a heavy weight on air skate wont move, what about the real load in earthquake like uneven movement of the ground up and down. The demo air supply seems to be on before the movement is made, I would imagine a lot of damage is done in the "first" movement and the system is turned on later.

Mark Scope

interesting concept-a demo would be very much welcome in a country like india, where the northeastern region is prone to major shocks, and is considered to be high risk zone.

ghanshyam das
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