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App turns Android phones into a network that provides early warnings about earthquakes

Posted: , by Alan F.

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How would you like to be part of a network of smartphone users that can help detect when an earthquake is about to take place? UC Berkley has released an app for Android devices called MyShake that uses the motion sensors on your phone to determine if the earth is about to move under your feet. The information provided by your phone is added to the data from others using the app. This way, enough information can be received to make an accurate forecast.

At the same time, researchers can use the data that you provide (along with the others who have installed the app), to further help them improve on their crowd-sourced early warning system. Your phone's accelerometer is the main sensor employed by the app, and algorithms have been devised to ignore false alarms.

"MyShake cannot replace traditional seismic networks like those run by the U.S. Geological Survey, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington and Caltech, but we think MyShake can make earthquake early warning faster and more accurate in areas that have a traditional seismic network, and can provide life-saving early warning in countries that have no seismic network."-Richard Allen, Director, Berkeley Seismological Laboratory

A phone's accelerometer can now forecast a magnitude 5 earthquake 6.2 miles away from the epicenter. Stronger quakes register on an accelerometer an even longer distance away. If 60% of those with the app show an earthquake alert at the same time, the alarm is sent out that an earthquake is coming. And this early warning is important because knowing that a quake is coming even just 60 seconds ahead of time, is enough to take precautions that could save many lives. The app also shows you what to do in case you are caught in an earthquake.

And in case you were wondering, an iOS version of the app will eventually be available.

Download MyShake (Android)

source: UCBerkley via ArsTechnica

  • Options

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 20:17 1

1. Mfa901 (Posts: 291; Member since: 14 Jul 2012)

If it really works than it will be very useful in North East India where i live....

posted on 14 Feb 2016, 23:40

8. mmmanuuu (Posts: 403; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)

This app needs access to Photos/Media stored in your phone !

posted on 12 Feb 2016, 22:54

2. BobLawblaw (unregistered)

Could be useful here in Christchurch New Zealand. Always getting quakes here since the big 2 that destroyed the city 5 years ago..

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 21:39 1

5. Trickzter (Posts: 63; Member since: 21 Apr 2015)

Did you install and test this app? I'm in ChCh and as you would've felt it, we had a biggy a few hours ago... So wondering how the app went.

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 22:50

6. BobLawblaw (unregistered)

Didn't install the app. That was a big 5.7 a few hours ago. Thought the house was going to collapse here in Riccarton. Scary stuff..

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 01:18 1

3. aashis.sapkota (Posts: 49; Member since: 27 Sep 2015)

Can be very useful here in Nepal: we are getting a lot of shaking these days.

posted on 13 Feb 2016, 10:55 1

4. legiloca (Posts: 1461; Member since: 11 Nov 2014)

MyShake? Am I the only one who thought about it as a slang for masturbation? lol.
And you guys just might wanna include the whole world and Not just your area or country. Earth is Earth, and your country is just a tiny part of it

posted on 14 Feb 2016, 00:46

7. TrackPhoneUser (Posts: 251; Member since: 21 Oct 2015)

Sounds like botnet

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