Today’s Solutions: May 17, 2022

Google is on a mission to create the world’s largest earthquake detector. To do this, the tech giant is using the same accelerometer that rotates your screen.

Beginning with Android 5.0’s launch on August 11, phones running the OS will start becoming part of Google’s Lucious Fox-like Android Earthquake Alerts System. “All smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening,” Google said in the earthquake detector’s announcement“If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred.”

Google will use city-level location data to establish the location. Then, if many phones in the same area are going off, the Android Earthquake Alerts System will in the future send out the titular alerts, hopefully buying people precious seconds or minutes to find a safe place to shelter in the shaking.

The accelerometer inside a smartphone is sensitive enough to detect two types of earthquake waves — most importantly, the P wave (primary wave). P waves are the harbingers; they are followed by S (secondary) waves, which are often slower but more severe. 

In California, Google will work with the state’s ShakeAlert system, which utilizes a network of traditional, in-ground seismometers to detect earthquakes quickly. The system began a trial for sending out predictive alerts last October.

Eventually, Google hopes its enormous earthquake detector can provide early warnings across states and countries, leveraging the massive power of many monitors at once. What they will not be able to do — and no one can, or at least not yet — predict earthquakes. But what they can do is use information from phones that are nearest to the earthquake to help users further away to know about the earthquake much quicker.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Europe may launch plan requiring solar panels on all public buildings by 2025

Countries are speeding up efforts to transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources, not just for the sake of the climate, but also to build independence from Russian petroleum. Germany accelerated its own schedule to ... Read More

Breakthrough method that rescues lithium from wastewater

Electric vehicles are the future of transport. Electric vehicle sales increase year after year and, in 2019, accounted for 2.6 percent of global car sales. Electric vehicles are an essential change to be made for ... Read More

Algae powered a basic computer for over six months

Sometimes it can be pretty difficult to imagine our highly technological society coexisting with the natural world. A lot of the time, we seem to live our lives entirely online, in this realm not only ... Read More

Adding blueberries to your diet could help stave off dementia

From slowing cognitive decline to accelerating chronic wound healing, blueberries can have many surprising health benefits. Now, scientists at the University of Cincinnati have uncovered that adding blueberries to your daily diet in middle age ... Read More

An X-ray explosion of a white dwarf star captured for the first time

Everything comes to an end, even stars! When these burning balls of hydrogen and helium use up all their fuel they shrink to white dwarfs. In some rare cases, these dead stars can flare back ... Read More

A species of East African jumping spider targets recently fed mosquitoes

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so the saying goes. As it turns out, this applies to humans and the natural world as well. Mosquitoes are the prime movers of malaria around the ... Read More