1. Cloaking device – A ‘cloak’ of concentric plastic rings could protect future buildings from quakes. Waves of vibrations would be diverted in an arc around the building, saving it from damage.
2. Get braced – Engineers strengthen buildings against twisting forces by building around a skeleton of diagonal crossbeams, vertical shear walls and steel frames.
3. Steeling up – Buildings made of structural steel or reinforced with steel beams are less brittle than unreinforced brick or concrete buildings, and can flex when swayed by an earthquake.
4. Rubber feet – The building sits on leadrubber cylinders, bearings or springs. These sway horizontally when a quake hits to reduce the sideways movement of the structure.
5. Symmetry – Box-shaped buildings are more resistant than irregular-shaped ones, which twist as they shake. Each wing of an L or T-shaped building may vibrate separately, increasing damage.