Distributed tremor detection

2008-10-17

in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Science

Jesse Lawrence is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University, primarily interested in earthquake seismology and distributed computing. One idea has now merged the two fields: using the accelerometers increasingly commonly built into laptops and phones to make a distributed system for earthquake measurement. By having lots of sensors, it is possible to distinguish earthquakes from other forms of motion. The distributed approach also has advantages: it can provide more detailed information about extreme vibrations than delicate seismometers. It can also provide data collected at many more points, increasing understanding of the earthquake as an effect across a large area. Apparently, with appropriate signal processing, it would be possible to use the system to warn people in surrounding areas not yet affected by the quake, since the data could move more quickly than the seismic waves themselves.

Those wishing to join the Quake-Catcher Network can get the Mac or PC software online. Presumably, people in California are especially encouraged to enroll.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan October 17, 2008 at 10:58 pm

I doubt my laptop is modern enough to have such a feature.

However, the new macbooks look awfully tempting…

Seriously though, I won’t get a new macbook, at least until this becomes unusable. I did take the occasion to clean it with rubbing alcohol, however.

Milan October 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

It is always a good idea to wait for the second computer in a new line of Apple machines. The very first set usually has a few annoying things wrong with them.

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