Build & Test Earthquake Proof Buildings

Introduction: Build & Test Earthquake Proof Buildings

About: Hi,I'm from DFRobot, a dream factory for robo-holics to make a better world.

We all know how do earthquakes occur and what destruction they cause. But as for now, we cannot predict exactly when an earthquake will happen. So the earthquake-resistant design is becoming the new form in most earthquake-prone cities.

This project will show you how to make an earthquake working model study how to improve the building earthquake-proof level. This module combines a shake table and earthquake-proof structures from simple materials and BOSON modules.


  • Box & Cardboard- Straws (about 16 based on length)
  • Pipe cleaners (18)- Bottle caps (6 normal sizes, 1 slightly bigger)
  • Bubber bans (4)
  • Thumbtack (1)
  • micro:bit- BOSON mainboard 1IO
  • BOSON rotation sensor
  • BOSON motor controller
  • BOSON geared motor

Step 1: Earthquake Simulation

The model simulates seismic ground motion during an earthquake. With a rotation sensor, you can change the speed of the motor to generate movement at different frequencies. It will be inspiring to test the effect of short and high-frequency earthquakes on buildings with different heights.

Step 2: Earthquake Measurement

A nature earthquake creates motions on 3 axes, but since our shake table is moving along the same direction, it will be easy to measure the acceleration on the X-axis with a micro:bit, to give you an accurate result of how strong the earthquake is. Fix the micro:bit at the top of the building, plug it with your computer, open Mind+, and let the data fly.

Step 3: Earthquake Resistance

There are many ways to create earthquake-proof buildings, the most commonly used for tall buildings might be Tuned Mass Damper (check Taipei 101). I used several screw nuts as weight and suspend them from the top. You might need to test the height and length to get a better result. Add more structures like frames, braces to check how strong is your building.

Step 4: The Building

I built the building with pipe cleaners as joins, straws as skeletons. It may take some time to make that many joins, but once you're done, it's easier to change the structure by plugging in&out. If that bored you, feel free to glue them, tape them or use any method to build your skyscrapers!

Step 5: Hardware Connection

Connect as the figure:

Step 6: Sample Program and Files

The program can visualize the acceleration data from micro:bit, and compare two pieces of data on the same screen. Therefore, it's obvious to see how effective the earthquake-proof structure is.

Press the green flag to run the program, it will ask you to input the time you want the data to be captured. Then press the SPACE bar, it will generate a grid automatically. Press A to draw your first piece of data, when it's done, press B for the second piece. With a little twist on the code, you'll be able to visualize most kinds of analog data in a line chart as you wish.

Download and install Mind+ save the file and open with Mind+.

Download the related files here.

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