China’s 7.8 earthquake had a very big death toll.
The estimate of the dead will well pass the 20,000 mark. (Economist, 2008). Can technology help us in such great disasters? A small warning signal just a few seconds before the actual event could be a true life saver. By engaging computers in homes and businesses to work as seismic monitors, the researchers hope to pull together a wealth of information on major quakes, and perhaps even offer early warnings, giving a few seconds’ notice of a potentially devastating quake. (Anna Davison, 2008).
The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) is a collaborative initiative for developing the worlds largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. (QCN, 2007)
QCN is based on distributed networking, same as seti@home.
How is this accomplished? Notebooks have accelerometers.
An accelerometer is an electromechanical device that will measure acceleration forces. These forces may be static, like the constant force of gravity pulling at your feet, or they could be dynamic – caused by moving or vibrating the accelerometer. (Dimension Engineering, n.d)
I currently live in Greece. Greece has many earthquakes similar to those in Japan and California. I have experienced several earthquakes. It was not a nice experience. Could I use a few seconds of advance warning, I could surely find a secure location for the duration of the earthquake.
Anna Davison(2008). Laptops as Earthquake Sensors . Available at: http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/20658/page1/
Dimension Engineering (n.d). A beginner’s guide to accelerometers. Available at: http://www.dimensionengineering.com/accelerometers.htm
Economist (2008).Days of disaster. Available at: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11376935
QCN(2007).Quake Cathcer Network Available at: http://qcn.stanford.edu/