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Earthquake


— Robotics

Lizard-inspired robot can swim through granular material

By - May 10, 2011 4 Pictures
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
— Robotics

QinetiQ provides unmanned robotic systems to aid in Japan's recovery efforts

By - March 30, 2011 4 Pictures
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
— Science

Japan earthquake may have shortened length of days and shifted Earth’s axis

By - March 15, 2011 1 Picture
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
— Aircraft

U-2 reconnaissance aircraft to aid Japan in earthquake and tsunami relief efforts

By - March 14, 2011 1 Picture
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
— Science

Map provides near-real-time updates on Japan aftershocks

By - March 14, 2011 1 Picture
Almost incomprehensible as the devastation from last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been, scientists warn that more aftershocks are on their way. In order to get all the information on current seismic activity in one place, researchers at Texas Tech University’s Center for Geospatial Technologies have developed an online, publicly-accessible world map that displays data on disturbances worldwide, almost as soon as they have occurred. Read More
— Architecture

Recycled plastic housing resists earthquakes, hurricanes, rot, insects and mould

By - January 10, 2011 8 Pictures
Each year natural disasters and civil unrest leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless throughout the world. Many of these crises occur in developing nations where traditional building materials are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive, and where the focus is often on staying alive, not maintenance of a home. The ECO:Shield system from Innovative Composites International Inc. (ICI) may present a welcome solution. The earthquake and hurricane resistant houses use recyclable materials and according to ICI, are cheaper than both conventional and other modular constructions. They are energy efficient and durable – resisting moisture, insects, rot and mould. And they can be constructed quickly using unskilled labor: an 8' x 16' (2.4 x 4.9 meters) ECO:Shield house can be assembled in less than 45 minutes with standard tools. Read More
— Good Thinking

New acoustic early warning system for landslides developed

By - October 22, 2010 2 Pictures
People living in landslide-prone areas will be glad to know that a new technology has been developed which monitors soil acoustics to determine when a landslide is imminent. The system consists of a network of sensors, buried across a hillside considered a risk. As soil moves within the hillside, it creates noise – the more the amount of movement, the louder the noise. When that noise reaches a threshold level, the system sends a text message warning to local authorities, that a landslide is about to occur. Read More
— Good Thinking

Student-designed door could save lives during earthquakes

By - September 28, 2010 3 Pictures
What are you supposed to do when an earthquake hits? If you answered “Go stand in a doorway,” you get a gold star... although "Get under a table" would also be correct. Doorways are structurally stronger than most other parts of a building, and are often the last thing left standing when a structure has been destroyed by an earthquake. A narrow doorway offers little, however, in the way of protection from falling debris. That’s why an MA Design student from England’s Kingston has University invented a special kind of door. Read More
— Good Thinking

Video: THK's seismic isolators dampen the shock from earthquakes

By - July 20, 2010 6 Pictures
This technology might not be fully appreciated by readers located in earthquake-free locales, but if you've ever felt the ground move beneath your feet you'll be pleased with this technology. At Tokyo Big Sight last week Japanese company THK was demonstrating how their linear motion systems could dampen the shock of an earthquake. One of their systems, when placed underneath an object that you'd like to protect, will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake. Read More
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