Detect earthquakes with your smartphone, it’s possible!

MyShake. This is the name of this application for Android and iOS which uses the accelerometer present in smartphones to detect movements of the earth. 

The natural disasters not only cause substantial damage, but they translate today by the loss of many lives. Often the number of victims is greatly reduced if the population is warned in time. This is the case with earthquakes , and some countries, such as South Korea, Mexico, Japan and Taiwan, have already set up seismograph networks and an alert system that warns the population before the start of the earthquake. However, current systems are limited and expensive to set up.

group of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley came up with an idea to create a system at a lower cost. Rather than deploying expensive equipment, they decided to take advantage of a technology that already covers the whole territory: smartphones.

Soon to be integrated directly into iOS or Android?

The researchers published an application called MyShake , which works on iOS and Android , and which uses the accelerometer of mobile devices to detect earthquakes. Through a study of 100 volunteers, they learned to differentiate movements due to normal use of shaking a trembling earth. The application can detect an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or more, in which case it sends an alert.

Of course, an alert from a single device does not allow an earthquake to be concluded. However, in 2016 an earthquake of magnitude 5.2 was detected by more than 200 smartphones. To date, more than 320,000 people have installed the app worldwide. Researchers imagine integrating the technology into a popular application or directly into the mobile operating system to quickly create a global network capable of detecting earthquakes and sending an alert wherever humans are present.