Did you know that your smartphone's accelerometer is able to sense earthquakes?

Did you know that your smartphone's accelerometer is able to sense earthquakes?
In April 2013, a pair of seismologists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy concluded that the typical accelerometer found in smartphones at the time can be useful for strong motion seismology. The scientists put up some readings from an actual seismometer for reference, then placed the LIS331DLH accelerometer chip, used in the iPhone 4 and 5, on a vibrating table that's typically used in seismology studies.

They found out that the chip had "excellent frequency and phase response, comparable with that of some standard FBA accelerometers used in strong motion seismology", but that wasn't the be all, end all of the study. Apparently, the chip was not sensitive enough to pick up earthquakes of magnitudes of 5 or under, and also has to be set near the epicenter. However, earthquakes under 5 on Richter's scale, the ones incapable of causing severe structural damage, can still be detected by smartphone accelerometers, hence the scientists are pondering organising handset-driven emergency response networks. According to them, the main advantage of these MEMS sensors is, indeed, their common use in smartphones.

This isn't the first time scientists have come up with such findings, however. Prior to the aforementioned study, a team of seismologists from the University of California compared the sensors in iPhone and Android devices. They determined that the sensors can tell the difference between normal activities, such as walking and running, and earthquake tremors.

Unfortunately, the so-called earthquake detector apps for Android and iOS are merely practical jokes, so we can't recommend messing around with them, especially in real life occasions.

source: Wired

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14 Comments

1. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Can come in handy too for when that T-Rex is heading your way...

2. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I was going to say Bigfoot/Sasquatch!!! lol +1

5. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

or Waldo

8. Lovejoy

Posts: 9; Member since: Aug 04, 2015

I still have my faith on the good old glass of water.

10. Kratos7

Posts: 62; Member since: May 15, 2015

Or shaq...

12. kotin89

Posts: 9; Member since: Aug 03, 2015

Or Gaints !

3. discharge unregistered

Ya right got my boat ready instead I live in so California near San Andreas fault no worries here bring it on!!

4. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Ohh my!!! Get out of there...! Why ohh why do you live in that area? California is going to fall into the Pacific Ocean. The Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, Yosemite national park, Death Valley national park, Joshua Tree national park, Redwood national and state parks & the Hollywood Walk of Fame will all be lost forever! By God please remove yourself before it's too late!!!

6. discharge unregistered

Born and raised here I'm used the shakers but if that happens the whole world could have chain reaction quakes who knows where ever we go there is a disasters hurricanes tornadoes etc but earthquakes no warning good point there

9. TBomb

Posts: 1655; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

http://holykaw.alltop.com/111354 My home looks pretty safe though! #1!

7. CellieCell

Posts: 154; Member since: Apr 14, 2010

Yes, i actually found out when i had the my touch 3g a long time ago.

11. Michael.Parker

Posts: 273; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

You don't need an accelerometer to sense me rockin

13. LittleGaGaKiller

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

do you know that the (Vibrate mode) can make your phone a vibrator ?

14. Kaiser2007

Posts: 173; Member since: Nov 16, 2013

Yeah. Nokia come out with a elongated phone long ago. I forgot the model.

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