Air compressors could hold the key to earthquake-proofing homes, thanks to a new innovation from Japan.

The concept, created by Japanese firm Air Danshin, turns homes into hovercrafts, using a bed of compressed air to levitate them slightly above the ground.

Homes only hover when an earthquake is detected – and the automatic system is able to lift them from their foundations quickly and with good stability.

Once off the ground, they are able to avoid the worst vibrations of the earthquake, which simply passes a few millimetres beneath them without causing significant damage.

The idea is not totally new – videos on the company’s YouTube channel date back to mid-2011 – but has been grabbing attention on gadget blogs worldwide this week.

It is a great example of how air compressors can be used for imaginative and important applications, and an elegant solution to the problem of earthquakes, which is an ongoing concern in Japan and other parts of the world.

However, it could be some time before the UK sees its first flying homes.