Gadgets blog – Seismic Laptops Help Detect Earthquakes – Cool gadgets,New high technology gadgets



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If you’ve got a laptop with a built-in accelerometer, you, too, could help detect earthquakes.
It turns out an ordinary laptop is all people need to join the 1,000-volunteer Quake-Catcher Network, which transmits data about earthquakes to researchers at UC Riverside and Stanford University, LiveScience reports.
The accelerometers in today’s laptops power down the hard disk in the event of a fall or sharp jolt. Elizabeth Cochran, a UC Riverside geoscientist, came up with the idea of tapping into the accelerometers to record earthquakes, the report said.

Hence, the Quake-Catcher software program, which anyone can download from; it runs in the background and becomes active whenever the user is idle. When the accelerometer detects a quake–presumably something larger than the average short-hauler crashing down 6th avenue–the program begins transmitting type and intensity data over the Internet to researchers.
The program also has an auto-save function in case the power goes out. That’s useful, since earthquakes tend to shake a few seconds before taking out local power and Internet capability. The program seems to work extremely well, although it can’t detect much below a 4.0-earthquake, since the accelerometers aren’t as sensitive as professional seismic tools (which start at $5,000), the report said.
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