AsianScientist (Jun. 13, 2016) – Scientists in the US have released a Japanese version of an Android app that recognizes earthquake shaking using the sensors in every smartphone.
The app, called MyShake, can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the MyShake website. The app runs in the background and draws little power, so that a phone’s onboard accelerometers can record local shaking any time of the day or night. Accelerometers measure acceleration, tilt and vibration in various devices.
For now, the app only collects information from the accelerometers, analyzes it, and, if it fits the vibrational profile of a quake, relays it and the phone’s GPS coordinates to the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory in California for analysis.
Since MyShake app was first released in English in February 2016, more than 170,000 people have downloaded it from around the world, and on any given day 11,000 phones provide data to the system.
The network has recorded earthquakes in Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan and across North America. The system has recorded earthquakes as small as magnitude 2.5 and as large as the April 16, 2016, magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador.
Once enough people are using the app and the bugs are worked out, seismologists from University of California, Berkeley plan to use the data to warn people miles from ground zero that shaking is rumbling their way.
“We think MyShake can make earthquake early warning faster and more accurate in areas that have a traditional seismic network, such as Japan, and can provide life-saving early warning in countries that have no seismic network,” said project leader Professor Richard Allen, who is also the director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.
Spanish and Chinese versions of the app are planned for the future, as is MyShake for the iPhone.
The article can be found at: Kong et al. (2016) MyShake: A smartphone seismic network for earthquake early warning and beyond.
Source: University of California, Berkeley.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.