Scientists at UC Berkeley are attempting to utilize the power of social media to detect earthquakes in real time. The researchers are hoping to find a way to quickly gather massive amounts of cell phone data from people during earthquakes using social media, twitter, and text messages. The MyShake app is one way scientists are trying to create a safer network of earthquake warnings around the world.
The App Uses a Phone’s Accelerometer to Detect Earthquakes
The app uses a feature of smartphones called the accelerometer, which detects whether the phone is horizontal or vertical. This helps with games people may play on their phones as well as with screen rotation. The accelerometer eliminates random movement of the phone when in a user’s bag or when dropped; the phone can, however, detect the unique seismic vibrations of an earthquake.
Researchers hope that the app will progress enough to eventually be able to not only alert users of coming earthquakes, but will also allow alerts to be sent to train conductors, doctors in hospitals, and to people in elevators.
- New app turns smartphones into worldwide seismic network. UC Berkeley Press Release
Watch the video about MyShake: