Back in the old days, the seismologists used to measure the quakes using carefully designed machines called seismographs. Due to the expensive and fragile nature of the seismographs, only the government funded organizations and laboratories were able to have these machines. But now they are thinking of a new approach towards the measurement and perhaps the prediction of earthquakes using the accelerometer or the gravity sensors present in all the smartphones.
The clever people at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed an app for Android devices called MyShake that can detect and measure the tremors in the surface of the earth when the phone is kept steady for some time. The app is intelligent and is able to know when you are shaking the phone yourself and when it is a genuine tectonic activity. Their mission is to develop a large network of small smartphone bases seismographs so that one day they could predict the quakes in terms of time and location.
The MyShake app runs in the background and uses very little of your mobile’s battery resources. When you have placed the phone on a steady surface for some time and it detects a tremor, it sends this data to the Berkeley servers. The large data collected through thousands or millions of devices is then analyzed and archived.
In addition to helping you join the global community of seismologists, it also helps you understand the basic survival techniques in the event of an earthquake. The app shows you the detailed information about the well known “Drop, Cover and Hold” routine used to protect yourself when an earthquake strikes.
You can find more information about the MyShake app from http://myshake.berkeley.edu/.