Japan’s Innovate Ways of Tackling Disasters

A recent piece from The Japan Times explains some of the interesting ways Japan is tackling disasters.

  • Seismic isolation: The archipelago’s long history of seismic events means it has had to think of innovative ways to create earthquake-resistant structures. One example is the “goju-no-to” or “five-layered tower,” an architectural technique that dates back to medieval times. According to The Japan Times, “It has a thick central pillar that is not directly connected to the floors of each of the five stories. This means the pillar and the floors do not shake in the same direction, and the shaking of each element offsets each other, mitigating the amount of shaking. Medieval Japanese came up with the technique at a time when wood was pretty much the only material available for building. Even though reinforced concrete and other stronger materials are now the norm, construction companies still use the lesson from medieval times — isolating quake vibration.”

    Another example is how the Japanese seismic isolation systems reduce shaking – while reinforced concrete helps make buildings quake-resistant, it doesn’t lower the level of shaking. So, by placing rubber, oil or other substances between a building and the ground, a sort of cushion is created to absorb the tremors.

  • Robot technology: Japan is also working on using its advanced robot tech in disaster recovery. For example, according to The Japan Times: “Caterpillar-shaped rescue robot Quince was deployed into a heavily irradiated nuclear reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant between June and October 2011 to collect data. Quince, developed by the Chiba Institute of Technology, Tohoku University and the International Rescue System Institute, was very helpful as no human was able to enter the building due to the high radiation. Information gathered by Quince is critical to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, as it plans the dismantling of the reactors. Japan also has marine and airborne robots to collect data after disasters. After the quakes and tsunami on March 11, 2011, robots were deployed to search the ocean for bodies and other objects washed away by tsunami. Drones were deployed to search for survivors and bodies in areas of landslides and other disasters.”


For more information, see the original article here: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/14/national/using-technology-lessen-disaster-risk/#.VQj9tI54qpB