Video: THK's seismic isolators dampen the shock from earthquakes
By Rick Martin
July 20, 2010
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. The company's linear motion systems, when placed underneath an object that you'd like to protect, will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake.
THK's system converts linear mechanical motion into a rolling motion using a 'caged ball technology'. The company's website describes how the quake-absorbing technology of seismic isolators "reduce[s] the motion of the earthquake rather than providing resistance against it."
It can be implemented for a number of use cases: you could protect valuable works of art, a server housing your companies' critical data, or you can use the technology to protect entire buildings. THK's lateral motion (LM) guides can be used to protect residential homes or even huge urban skyscrapers. THK applies their linear motion systems to a variety of other fields as well, such as in NC (numerical control) machinery, industrial robotics, the automotive and railway industries, and in high-tech medical equipment.
While the company has been working on the technology for a while (it's possible that you may have heard of it before), their demonstration during the exhibition was pretty spectacular. Check out the video below where THK simulates a magnitude-7 earthquake on location at Tokyo Big Sight, all in the back of a truck.