My smartphone alerts me when there’s a tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning. It alerts me when there’s breaking news concerning the world and my city. Yes, it even alerts me when there’s breaking news concerning my favorite sports teams. But can Smartphones Detect earthquakes?
This is where Android’s new app My Shake comes in. It’s available free of charge at the Google Play store. It was invented by a team of seismologists led by Quigkai Kong and a team of computer scientists led by Richard Allen. My Shake was founded at the University of California-Berkeley. It uses your smartphone’s accelerometer as your own earthquake watch center. There are more obscure earthquake watch apps out there. But My Shake uses GPS to detect the slightest of earthquake rumblings and tremors. When My Shake detects an earthquake, it sends the origin, time, and strength (Richter scale). It also warns people in the neighborhood of how long they have to take cover before it hits. After the alert, as long as your phone is connected with WiFi, you’re given a second alert. It’s somewhat of a five minute timer, giving you one minute before the earthquake hits and four minutes after it hits. The My Shake app also detects were historic earthquakes took place over the decades. Try it in California.
An app like My Shake is way overdue. Stats show that 2015 was one of the busiest years for earthquakes ever, including one in Nepal that killed over 5,000 people. The biggest earthquakesof my childhood was the 1989 San Francisco earthquake that hit during the World Series. But so far in the 21st century, we’ve seen quakes that have topped 9.0 on the Richter scale. We’ve seen quakes and tsunamis that have killed tens of thousands at a time. Today, there was an earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand that caused a cliff to collapse. Thankfully, no deaths or injuries were reported. So I give these teams props for releasing this free app. How many lives will My Shake app save?
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