Google engineers turn Android into portable earthquake detectors

Google engineers turn Android into portable earthquake detectors
Image from iStock

Google has begun to use mobile phones with an operating system as an alternative tool to help detect earthquakes, turning the ‘smartphone’ into a “mini seismograph” through the use of its sensors.

Google engineers keep working on the news. This time, Sundar Pichai team have come up with new functionality added to Android OS phones that involves turning some of these ‘smartphones’ into mini seismographs that offer real-time information about possible earthquakes.

Thus, the technology company, as announced on Tuesday by Android’s chief software engineer, Marc Stogaitis, who has worked on this project with experts in seismology and natural disasters such as Dr Richard Allen or Dr Quinkai Kong, intends to create what he has dubbed “the world’s largest earthquake detection network“.

“Smartphones include small accelerometers that are capable of detecting signals that indicate that an earthquake could be occurring,” explains the Google worker, adding that, starting today, some phones, upon detecting something that could be an earthquake, will send a signal to the earthquake detection server next to the location where the earthquake occurred.

Once the information is processed at Google’s hubs, the technology giant’s server will combine the information sent by the terminal with which other phones that were in nearby locations at the same time to determine whether or not the earth has actually trembled and indicate whether it has done so with greater or lesser force.

“We will initially use this technology to quickly and accurately plot the affected area and provide information in Google search. When you search for “earthquake” or “earthquake near me,” you’ll find results relevant to your area, along with useful information on what to do after an earthquake,” Stogaitis explained.

Hope to send alerts soon

In addition, also from Tuesday, the company will begin launching earthquake alerts in the state of California (USA), where to date has a seismograph-based detection system and whose Office of Emergency Services has been collaborating in recent months to send such warnings through ShakeAlert technology, which uses signals from more than 700 seismographs installed throughout the state.

Stogalis has assured that this system of simple warnings is expected to be implemented in more U.S. states as well as outside the country’s borders over the next year. However, in these cases already using the information detected through the ‘smartphones’ with Android operating system. “The warning a few seconds in advance can make all the difference by giving you time to bend down, cover and wait before the tremor arrives,” the engineer added.

Stogalis has assured that during the next year it is foreseeable that this seismic alert system will be implemented in more states of the United States as well as outside the country’s borders. Of course, in these cases already using the information detected through ‘smartphones’ with Android operating system. “The warning a few seconds in advance can make a difference by giving time to cover and wait before the earthquake hits,” added the engineer.

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com