Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Earthquake

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

When you live in a country as seismically active as Japan, thinking about earthquakes (and tsunamis) 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.  Read More

The 2,080-foot Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's second tallest structure, combines cutting edge...

Leap day 2012 saw the completion of the world's second tallest structure, the Tokyo Sky Tree television transmitter and observation tower. At 2,080 feet (634 m) the tower stands nearly twice as Japan's previous tallest frame, the 1,091-ft (333-m) Tokyo Tower transmitter. It's an audacious technological feat when one considers this is at the heart of an earthquake zone.  Read More

Mathematicians are proposing a cloaking system, which could allow buildings to be rendered...

While “cloaking” technology may have once been limited exclusively to the realm of science fiction, regular Gizmag readers will know that it is now finding its way into real life – just within the past few years, scientists have demonstrated various experimental cloaking systems that prevent small objects from being seen, and in one case, from being heard. Such invisibility systems involve the use of metamaterials, which are man-made materials that exhibit optical qualities not found in nature. These are able to effectively bend light around an object, instead of allowing it to strike the object directly. Now, mathematicians from the University of Manchester are proposing technology based on the same principles, that would allow buildings to become “invisible” to earthquakes.  Read More

Is this cyclone a tremor trigger? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Hurricanes and typhoons could contribute to other natural disasters that occur long after the rain and winds subside. A new study led by University of Miami (UM) scientist Shimon Wdowinski finds a link between earthquakes and tropical storms, and shows that they may have actually initiated some major temblors, including the recent 2010 quakes in Haiti and Taiwan.  Read More

The design resembles an emergency cross symbol that has fallen onto its side, as if affect...

Portugal's OODA architectural firm has conceptualized a Disaster Education Centre that also doubles as an emergency shelter in the event of a real-life disaster. The center has been designed for the city of Istanbul and would be fully equipped with adequate technology and facilities to respond to a natural emergency. The center focuses on educating the public about disasters, with a special focus on earthquakes and floods. The design of the building reflects this theme, resembling an emergency cross symbol that has fallen onto its side, as if affected by an earthquake.  Read More

The floating Noah capsule is designed to be used in the event of earthquakes or tsunamis (...

New Cosmopower, a small Japanese company, has created a floating capsule to be used in the event of earthquakes or tsunamis. Following the devastating loss of life during the Tohoku earthquake in March this year, the "Noah" capsule was designed to preserve life in the face of another major catastrophe - just like its biblical namesake.  Read More

Inspired by the sandfish lizard, a new snake-like robot is being designed to burrow throug...

When the sandfish lizard wishes to escape predators, it can actually dive beneath the surface of the sand, and then swim through it. Inspired by the sandfish, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created an undulating robot that can likewise swim through a granular medium. While that medium has so far consisted of quarter-inch plastic balls in a lab setting, the team hopes that their robot – or one of its descendants – could someday be used to tunnel through debris to rescue earthquake victims.  Read More

QinetiQ will provide unmanned vehicle equipment to Japan to aid in cleanup and recovery ef...

In the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011, the country faces a massive cleanup and rebuilding effort that will take years. To assist in the dangerous task of clearing hazardous debris that stretches for hundreds of miles along Japan’s east coast, the North American arm of global defense technology company QinetiQ has announced it will provide unmanned vehicle equipment and training to aid in the colossal undertaking.  Read More

The Japan earthquake may have sped up the Earth's rotation and shifted its axis

Using a complex model to perform a theoretical calculation based on a U.S. Geological Survey, Richard Gross of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has determined that by changing the distribution of the Earth's mass, the earthquake that devastated Japan last Friday should have sped up the Earth's rotation, resulting in a day that is about 1.8 microseconds (1.8 millionths of a second) shorter.  Read More

A U-2 high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft departs from Osa...

As Japan, and indeed the world, struggles to comprehend the devastation resulting from the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, countries around the world have rushed to offer support in a number of ways. Amongst the aid flowing from the U.S. is a U-2 high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft that will be used to capture high-resolution, broad area synoptic imagery to help the Japanese identify the location and extent of damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami.  Read More

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