An image of a house floating in air well-above the ground is being shared on social media claiming that Japan is working on developing a special technology that allows homes to rise above the ground enough to protect the house in case of earthquakes. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Image of Japanese floating house designed to withstand earthquakes.
Fact: This technology has been implemented in Japan since 2005 by ‘Air Danshin Systems’ company. Using this technology, the house sits on a deflated air bag during normal times. When sensors feel a tremor, they switch on a compressor within a second. The compressor pumps air into the airbag at the base of the building, inflating it within a few more seconds, and ultimately lifting the entire building up to 3cm off its foundation. However, the image shared in the viral post is a digitally illustration and doesn’t show the house constructed using this technology. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.
We searched the internet with relevant keywords regarding this technology and found some reports regarding this process. A company named ‘Air Danshin Systems’, established in 2005, was building levitating houses in Japan since 2005 to withstand earthquakes.
Based on this technology, the house sits on a deflated air bag during more stable times. When sensors feel a tremor, they switch on a compressor within a second. The compressor pumps air into the airbag at the base of the building, inflating it within a few more seconds, and ultimately lifting the entire house a good three centimetres off its supposedly earthquake-proof concrete foundation.
There, the structure will hover, its inhabitants will be able to casually go about their business, for the duration of the quake. Then the airbag deflates, and the house gently settles back down when the tremors stop. Demonstration videos regarding this technology can be seen here and here. Moreover, there are 227 houses in Japan with this technology as of May 2021, Air Danshin’s Director Kinji Inaba told USA TODAY
But the viral image seen in the post shows the house floating in the air completely even without foundation. This image is a digitally created illustration and doesn’t accurately portray the technique used to levitate houses in Japan. The same image is used by some users on YouTube and 9GAG.
To sum it up, an unrelated image shared as the Japan’s earthquake resistant home.