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Building air bags.

Inflatable protection from collapsing buildings.
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Buildings in earthquake prone areas could have portions of the floor marked off. Inside the marked area would be an inflatable air bag that is activated by sensors to inflate and create a space between collapsed floors in which residents could survive.

The bags don’t have to fill explosively like car air bags and people would be trained to stay away from the marked areas when an alarm goes off until the bag is fully inflated.

They would have to be bloody puncture proof but a few psi can support an amazing weight when spread over a large area. (like car tires for instance).

Probably only viable for buildings like schools and government installations but I’ll take schools at the minimum.

cjacks, Oct 11 2005

Apparently getting baked http://gizmodo.com/...es-from-earthquakes
[theircompetitor, Mar 10 2012]

[link]






       Would the children be in the bags, or under them? Yes, perhaps the school could be in a giant air bag! No roof to collapse, and the kiddies are protected against flying debris.
ldischler, Oct 11 2005
  

       I was thinking it could fit in the floor in front of the blackboard. The alarm goes off. The bag inflates and the students run to the front of the room. If the roof collapsed, the bag should cause it to tip up creating a space where the students would be safe(er).
cjacks, Oct 11 2005
  

       A nice idea, but surely if the reinforced concrete walls give way then an airbag doesn't have much hope - even a tough one?
wagster, Oct 11 2005
  

       //The alarm goes off. The bag inflates and the students run to the front of the room.//
Not quite. First they have to run away, poof, then towards. The bag should look like an oversized teddy bear, to promote the running towards part.
ldischler, Oct 11 2005
  

       I wonder if inflatable pillars could have prevented the domino effect that was caused by the floors colapsing in the World Trade Centre.   

       Some of the problem in the current earthquake is that the collapsing buildings are on slopes. When the walls failed, the buildings slid down the hill as a number of loosley connected objects, reducing the number of potential voids for survivors.   

       Any system would have to cope with lateral movement as well as vertical collapse.
oneoffdave, Oct 12 2005
  

       I would post "Let's all live in pagodas" as they have proven incredibly resistant to earthquake damage due to their ability to absorb lateral shock. It might be construed as a "Let's all" though.
wagster, Oct 12 2005
  

       No [wags] I'd go for that. We could get Ground Force in to build them. Or is that pergolas?
coprocephalous, Oct 12 2005
  

       Pretty amazing -- apparently getting baked in Japan
theircompetitor, Mar 10 2012
  
      
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