The 'hover home' that can rise up off the ground in event of quake

Updated: 2015-06-11
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Read more on: hover home   earthquakes   Greg Henderson  

Homes are built on a 'cushion' that can be filled with a water or gas to raise them in the event of an earthquake, causing them to hover while the buffer material takes the brunt of the quake. a new version will use powerful magnets to do the same job, the firm said.
Researchers have revealed plans for a 'hover home' than can simply rise up off the ground in the event of an earthquake. 
It would use giant magnets to lift homes for the duration of a quake, avoiding damage. 
The firm behind the project is also developing a hoverboard - and said it hopes to apply the same technology to houses.

Greg Henderson, co-founder and CEO at Arx Pax told Business Insider that although the firm has patents for a system using water or gas to raise homes, a new version would use magnets instead of liquid. 
'Our goal is to eliminate structural movement by pinpointing the exact time an object or building's 'landing gear' should retract and activate the hover engines.' he said. 
To hover a three-story house for the average earthquake length of 90 seconds, it would use the energy of five car batteries, or cost around $13 using PG&E's rates, Henderson calculated. 
Instead of building large water-filled bases and foundations, Arx Pax's new vision would require installation of the hover engines and an earthquake-proof base. 
'When we receive warning of an earthquake, the computer turns on the hover engines,' Henderson explained. 
'All of that happens at the speed of light.' 
The original project was described as a 'patented three-part foundation system, a more cost effective means of decoupling an object or building from the earth to provide real protection against earthquakes, floods and sea-level rise.' 
It consists of a containment vessel, a buffer medium and a construction platform. 
The construction platform rests on the buffer medium which rests on the containment vessel.

A building can then be built on the construction platform, according to the patent. 
The buffer medium can be a fluid, a gas or a liquefiable solid. 
'In the case of a liquid buffer medium, the construction platform can be designed to displace enough of the buffer medium such that the platform and any building constructed on the platform 'float' on the buffer medium. 
'The buffer medium can be selected such that seismic forces, and in particular lateral forces which are known to be most damaging to building an earthquake, are not greatly transmitted through the medium. 
'Water is one an example of a potential buffer medium that has this property.'
Arx Pax, creator of the Hendo Hoverboard also said that it is integrating the ShakeAlert earthquake early-warning software into its plan. 
'The ShakeAlert program aligns well with our long-term vision,' 
'Weaving ShakeAlert into our MFA seismic isolation solution provides a valuable new tool to architects, engineers, and developers who are looking for a better way to build in areas affected by earthquakes. 
ShakeAlert uses the geophysical networks operated by University of California Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, University of Washington, and the USGS, which has successfully detected California earthquakes and predicted the shaking before it could be felt. 
'Arx Pax's new MFA base isolation technology combined with the ShakeAlert early-warning system will allow state-of-the-art seismic protection and vibration control for buildings, operating rooms, highly calibrated instruments and much more,' said Dr. Jennifer Strauss, external relations officer at Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. 
'We are excited by the collaboration and vision Arx Pax has to offer.'

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